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Sunday, July 31, 2011
Could Lofa Tatupu interest Bucs?

By Pat Yasinskas

There could be another possibility for the Bucs at middle linebacker.

Seattle’s Lofa Tatupu reportedly has requested his release and it’s been granted. The Bucs have been relatively quiet in free agency and they let middle linebacker Barrett Ruud leave to sign as a free agent with Tennessee.

Tampa Bay has been using Tyrone McKenzie as its first-team middle linebacker early in training camp. But he has only played in three NFL games. The Bucs also have high hopes for rookie Mason Foster.

But asking an inexperienced player to call the signals for a very young defense could be dangerous, and the Bucs might be open to bringing in a veteran. We’ve thrown out Nick Barnett’s name, but indications are he probably is headed elsewhere very shortly.

Tatupu’s presence on the market could intrigue the Bucs. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and is only 28. Although he came into the league with questions about being too small to play middle linebacker, he answered those quickly. The Bucs generally prefer smaller linebackers with good speed.