The 1976 Expansion Buccaneer Defensive Backs
One of the biggest areas of player turnover of the 1976 Buccaneers, was the defensive backfield. Ultimately, Cedric Brown, Mike Washington and Mark Cotney would start many games in franchise history, and Danny Reece & Curtis Jordan were good picks too. But as for the rest, well, they are names on this page alone.
21 Joe Blahak Acquired in the allocation draft and played in the first two games starting the opener in Houston. Was then released. 34Cedric Brown Became a long-time starter for the Bucs but only played the season finale in 1976 having been claimed on waivers.
45 Biff Burrell Former USC Trojan who never played in the NFL and was not drafted either Another one of these unknown players who was in Buc camp in 1976 but nothing else. 33Mark Cotney Probably the best pick from the allocation draft. Started for nearly a decade and remains a fan favourite today.
27 Ricky Davis Played 10 games in the expansion season on special teams and completed a pass on a fake punt for -7 yards. 16Bill Deery Undrafted free agent who never played in the NFL at all. Like Biff Burrell, no other details on him are known, but at least we found a picture of this guy on the NFL Films tape.
43 Earl Douthitt Typical allocation draft player with no real experience and no real chance of making the Buc roster in 1976. 24Johnny Fuller Was obtained in a trade in June with the Saints. Had been an NFL starter but did not make the Bucs out of camp.
14 Rod Greathouse Ferris State is not exactly known as a powerhouse of college football and hence Rodney did not make the Buc roster out of the 1976 camp or play in the NFL at all. 25Curtis Jordan 1976 draft pick who played five solid seasons as the nickel back and then won a Super Bowl ring with the Redskins.
29 Durwood Keaton Spent 1975 with New England and came to Tampa in the allocation draft but did not make the team out of camp. 31Mishael Kelson 1976 draft pick whose unusual name spelling is correct. Played in Arizona junior college football. Never played in the NFL.
21 Don Martin Had NFL experience with New England and Kansas City before being signed as a street free agent for the final two games in 1976. Only played in the loss to Oakland though. 42Frank Oliver Was selected in the allocation draft and played in the first four games of 1976 before being released for good.
20 Reggie Pierson Signed as a free agent in November 1976 and played five games for the Bucs and even started the final game of the year as injuries hit. Never played in the NFL again. 46Danny Reece Signed on waivers before the first game and spent five seasons in Tampa as a fearless punt returner and defensive back.
12 Pete Rome Undrafted free agent signing who was cut before the fourth pre-season game. 41 Mike Shaw Alongside the likes of Rodney Greathouse and Biff Burrell, another real unknown from pro football annals. Undrafted free agent cornerback who never played at all in the NFL.
15Robin Sinclair Undrafted free agent signing who was cut before the fourth pre-season game. 28Ken Stone Started every game at safety for the 1976 Buccaneers as part of a eight-year NFL career with three teams.
46 Mel Washington Was the Bucs' 11th round pick in the 1976 draft but was not a great success. Only started one season in college and never played in the NFL at all. 40Mike Washington Obtained in a trade before the 1976 season and went on to play nine seasons for the Bucs with nearly 100 starts.
24Roscoe Word Was signed as a free agent for the final three games and ended up starting two of them in the defensive backfield.