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Bucs release offensive lineman

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 16, 2000


TAMPA -- The Bucs released guard Ken Blackman, the team announced Thursday. Blackman, a four-year veteran who came to Tampa Bay on Nov.24 last season after being released by the Bengals, did not play in a game for the Bucs.

He was placed on the inactive list for the final six games of the regular season and moved to the injured reserve list on Jan. 5 as he recovered from a knee injury.

Blackman, whose wife is professional wrestler Medusa, became the first casualty of what is expected to be a fierce battle for limited offensive line spots. The Bucs return starting right tackle Jerry Wunsch, right guard Frank Middleton and right/left tackle Jason Odom. They also return part-time starter Kevin Doggins and backup center Todd Washington. They acquired Pro Bowlers Randall McDaniel (left guard) and Jeff Christy (center) in the off-season.

To add to the logjam, the Bucs still have a spot for veteran left tackle Paul Gruber, who is recovering from a broken left leg sustained in the final game of the regular season.

Veteran guard George Hegamin, who played on Dallas' 1995 Super Bowl-winning team and Tennessee guard Cosey Coleman, drafted in the second round, also are expected to compete for playing time.

Around the league

BENGALS: The NFL Players Association is preparing a letter to league offices in New York urging that any contract that includes Cincinnati's "loyalty clause" be disregarded by the league.

Richard Berthelsen, the general counsel for the NFLPA, said he is drafting the letter and expected to fax it to the league before the weekend. In it, he disparages the clause, which entitles the Bengals to take back a player's signing bonus if he criticizes the club in the media.

BRONCOS: Naming rights for the new stadium are for sale despite the fact that two-thirds of fans who participated in public forums held by the stadium district said they wanted to keep Mile High.

CARDINALS: Cornerback David Barrett, a fourth-round pick, signed a three-year contract worth $1.12-million, agent Drew Pittman said.

DOLPHINS: Offensive lineman James Brown and wide receiver Tony Hamler were released.

PACKERS: Nose tackle Steve Warren, a third-round pick who started last season for Nebraska, signed.

RAIDERS: Defensive back Charles Woodson pleaded guilty to a lesser, misdemeanor charge of impaired driving related to his traffic arrest last month. Woodson, 23, had been charged with misdemeanor counts of operating under the influence of liquor and driving with a suspended license.

TITANS: Coach Jeff Fisher signed his new contract before starting vacation. Terms of the three-year contract extension were agreed to late Monday night but the final details and the language of the contract had to be worked out before Fisher signed. "I'm very pleased that things have been worked out," he said.

VIKINGS: Veteran free-agent cornerback Roderick Mullen signed. He played in 15 games last season with Carolina and spent 1995-1998 with Green Bay.

MEGGETT UPDATE: Former running back Dave Meggett will not face a second trial on an assault charge. Meggett, 33, faced the possibility of a second trial after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in April. In a Canadian criminal trial, jurors must come to a unanimous decision in order to convict the accused.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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