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Bucs agree to deal with P Koenen

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Atlanta punter Michael Koenen to a six-year, $19.5 million contract on Friday.

Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris addressed the deal after the Bucs' first training camp workout, a 90-minute walkthrough session.

Morris said Koenen certainly changes field position with his kicks and that ''now he's with the good guys.''

''He brings the dynamic of the field position and winning that battle,'' Morris said. ''He brings a specialty to kickoffs. We were very fortunate to get him.''

Koenen averaged 40.7 yards on 74 punts last season.

The Bucs also re-signed free agent guard Davin Joseph (seven years), tackle Jeremy Trueblood (two years) and linebacker Quincy Black (five years).

Morris is excited that the team is able to keep the offensive line intact.

''Obviously, it was a big day for the organization,'' general manager Mark Dominik said. ''We feel like we've done a lot of things to help this team.''

Dominik expects additional signings to be forthcoming by the Bucs and that the high-level pace around the league will continue.

''We're still in the process of actually talking to other unrestricted free agents to see what's available,'' Dominik said. ''(Friday night) was first night that you can officially waive players, and there's a lot of names on that list. We need to look at that list and see if there's something that really makes sense for us.''

Tampa Bay is coming off a bounce-back season, going 10-6 last year and just missing a playoff berth.

''Right now, what we want to do and for this football team, which is realistic, is go out and win our division,'' Morris said. ''That would be our goal, to win a division. Once you qualify, anything can happen. As long as I'm head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we're going to continue the championship search.''

Second-round draft pick Da'Quan Bowers, rated as a possible top-five pick before undergoing right knee surgery, said he has no practice limitations.

The former Clemson defensive lineman led the nation with 15 1/2 sacks last season and is motivated to prove other teams erred in skipping over him because of concerns about his injury.

''It's more like a log than a chip (on the shoulder),'' Bowers said. ''I'm good. I'm ready to go. Now that the team knows that I'm a full-go, everybody can get on and start doing what we're here to do.''

Tyrone McKenzie and Mason Foster are the front-runners to potentially replace middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, who is an unrestricted free agent. Morris didn't completely rule out re-signing Ruud, but Dominik has said little to dispel the notion that the seventh-year pro no longer fits in the team's plans.

''Whoever's sitting in those seats are the guys I'm going to coach,'' Morris said.

Tampa Bay had a second practice, without pads, late Friday afternoon.

''It's good to be back to football,'' Morris said. ''A lot of fun getting to see these guys go out there. Getting a chance to be around our guys is a lot of fun.''

Tagged: Falcons, Buccaneers, Michael Koenen

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