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Storm gets a boost from Bucs with Toliver

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003

The Bucs' loss was the Storm's gain.

One day after being released by the Buccaneers, where he earned a Super Bowl ring, wide receiver/defensive back Antoine "T.T." Toliver returned to the Storm.

He signed a new contract on Tuesday and could practice today. He is expected to play Sunday at New York.

Coach Tim Marcum spoke with Toliver, in Tampa for the Bucs' offseason program, late Monday night.

"He called and said, 'Coach, I'm ready to go,' " Marcum said.

Toliver, a former Bethune-Cookman basketball player, led the Storm with two interceptions and was third with 39 1/2 tackles in five games last season. He set single-game records for kickoff return yards (274) and combined return yards (317).

"The kid had 274 return yards in one game on a 50-yard field," Marcum said. "That's not bad."

Toliver spent seven weeks, including the postseason, on the Bucs' practice squad, then was re-signed to a one-year reserve/future contract in January.

LOOKING AROUND: The Storm plans to try out former Orlando kicker David Cool as concerns grow about Mike Black's short kickoffs.

"We have to take a long, hard look at our kicking game," Marcum said. "We're not getting the ball to the net."

Black is 2-of-3 on field goals and 10-of-11 on extra points in two games since replacing Ian Howfield, but short kicks have resulted in outstanding field position for opponents. Colorado averaged 23.7 yards on six kickoffs and returned a missed field goal 19 yards in Sunday's 49-45 victory.

"We have to see if his accuracy is worth playing on a 25-yard field," Marcum said.

CHASING L.A.: With its loss to Colorado, Tampa Bay (9-3) slipped behind Los Angeles (9-3) in the race for the No. 1 seed and homefield throughout the playoffs.

The Avengers hold a common-opponents tiebreaker over the Storm, which would receive a first-round bye and play the second-lowest remaining seed in the quarterfinals if the season ended today.

INJURY UPDATE: An MRI exam on Monday revealed that offensive/defensive lineman Rod Wiliams tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee against Colorado. He is expected to be out 4-6 weeks, leaving Sai Poulivaati and Eric Thomas as the only centers on the roster.

Fullback/linebacker Andre Bowden will miss the New York game because of thumb and hamstring injuries. He will be replaced by David White, who returns from a shoulder injury.

Lineman Al Lucas remains on injured reserve after sustaining a heel injury in a victory at Carolina on April 11.

IF ONLY ... : Storm coaches lamented that they were unable to sign offensive specialist Damian Harrell, whose 5-yard reception with two seconds remaining carried Colorado past Tampa Bay.

Storm assistant Dave Ewart coached in New England when Harrell played there, and Tampa Bay spoke with the former Florida State receiver in the offseason.

Marcum said he believes Harrell signed with Colorado because Mike Perez, a former Sea Wolves teammate, coached the Crush's quarterbacks.

Perez left Colorado's staff last week to focus on his mortgage company.

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