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Bucs offer Green chance to return

The ex-Bucs receiver works out and likely will rejoin Tampa Bay.

By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 10, 2003


TAMPA -- The only thing faster than Jacquez Green on Wednesday was how quickly the Bucs shoved a contract at him.

After a morning tryout, Tampa Bay made Green a proposal that would return him to the Bucs, according to his agent. Terms weren't disclosed, but he is expected to notify the team of his decision today.

"He had a great workout and returned to his home in South Florida to think about it," said Green's agent, Hadley Englehard. "They want him to be the third or fourth receiver and be the kick returner, which is what he has always done best."

A second-round pick by Tampa Bay out of Florida in '98, Green played four seasons with the Bucs before becoming one of five former Florida players last season on ex-Gators coach Steve Spurrier's roster at Washington. But with just five catches for 95 yards through 10 games, he was released Nov. 12 after questioning Spurrier's shuffling of receivers. He was then claimed by the Lions.

Green would provide the Bucs with needed speed at receiver. He also would compete with veteran Karl Williams to return punts. Though his best seasons came at Tampa Bay, his production declined steadily.

After averaging more than 53 receptions for 782 yards in '99 and 2000, his production slumped to 402 receiving yards during an injury-marred 2001 season. But he rarely was used as a deep receiver or on kick returns.

Englehard said Green would welcome a return to the Bucs, especially under coach Jon Gruden.

"He's had dollars thrown at him from other teams. But he feels comfortable with the players in Tampa," Englehard said. "He doesn't really know Gruden very well, but he saw what they did last year and it certainly worked. The chance to be at home again really appeals to him."

RUDD FITS IN: Dwayne Rudd watched the postgame interviews of Super Bowl XXXVII when he heard Gruden begin a recruiting pitch to free agents.

"Tampa Bay was one of the first teams to call me and it was really hard for me to concentrate or even talk to other head coaches," Rudd said. "I was still visiting teams the last three weeks. It's almost like I should apologize to the other coaches because I told a lot of fibs. I never considered other teams. I felt like if I was that good, I needed to go play with the best."

Rudd, who will start at strongside linebacker alongside Pro Bowl players Shelton Quarles and Derrick Brooks, said the Bucs have the best linebacking corps in the league.

What's more, on a defense built with speed, Rudd insists he is the fastest player.

"I think I'm the fastest guy on the defense, personally," Rudd said. "That's my game, that's why I'm paid a lot of money and everything has happened well for me because I've had exceptional speed at my size. Personally, I think I'm going to be the fastest linebacker out here and I'm going to be the fastest player on the defense."

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