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Tampa Bay Bucs’ players make final arguments for roster spots

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Just for fun, the Tampa Bay Bucs may have cut Josh Freeman all over again Thursday night.

This time, they may have erased him from the roster of the Miami Dolphins.

The Bucs won a 22-17 victory over the Dolphins, and in the last stages of the game, safety Keith Tandy picked off Freeman twice to snuff out Miami’s final threats and, finally, gave Bucs’ fans a reason to celebrate Freeman throwing interceptions.

Freeman was already in a fight to make the Dolphins’ roster, running fourth team through preseason and showing just how fragile a roster spot can be in the NFL. At one point, Freeman looked like a rising star for the Bucs, throwing 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2010 before being cut after missing several meetings and falling out of favor with then-coach Greg Schiano. Freeman, who had also failed in Minnesota and with the New York Giants, might have had his last chance.

For the Bucs, it was about last chances, however, as most of the team’s starters sat out the final preseason game. Instead, that game was used so players such as Khaseem Greene, Kyle Brindza and Adam Humphries could make their final arguments for roster spots.

Greene had a game-high 10 tackles and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown. Tandy had two interceptions, a fumble recovery and eight tackles. Brindza, the kicker acquired in a trade from Detroit, hit a 55-and a 57-yard field goal.

Then there were the receivers. Both Humphries and Rannell Hall caught four passes Thursday night. Humphries also returned punts and kickoffs, which may make his argument for a roster spot strong, although Hall has had a nice camp.

One player who is assured of a spot on the roster is former Bears’ Pro Bowl corner Tim Spencer, who was signed to a contract Thursday. Spencer joins a crowded secondary.

The running game didn’t establish itself. Charles Sims gained no yards on five carries, and Bobby Rainey averaged only 2.5 yards on 11. Mike James averaged 4.5 on his 11.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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