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Johnson, Jurevicius released from Bucs

TAMPA, Fla. (March 1, 2005) -- Brad Johnson and Joe Jurevicius, two of the stars in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl run two years ago, were released to help the Buccaneers get under the salary-cap limit.

The quarterback and receiver teamed on one of the biggest plays in franchise history, a 71-yard catch-and-run that led to a first-quarter touchdown in the Bucs' victory over Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 19, 2003.

The moves helped general manager Bruce Allen clear more than $7.4 million in salary cap space. The team also cut linebacker Ian Gold and cornerback Mario Edwards, shaving more than $6 million in addition money.

The Bucs began the task of trimming more than $17 million in payroll by restructuring the contract of quarterback Brian Griese, who signed a five-year contract that reduced his salary cap number by about $4 million.

The team also restructured the contracts of several other players, including fullback Mike Alstott, center John Wade and running backs Michael Pittman and Charlie Garner.

In four seasons with Tampa Bay, Johnson threw for 10,940 yards, 64 touchdowns and 41 interceptions. He was benched after the Bucs lost their first four games last fall and did not play again.

"I have been were Brad is. Nobody likes to be told that they're fired," Griese said.

"But I think Brad is the type of guy who will use that as motivation. I know he still has some good days left and I know he wants to go and prove himself. I don't have any doubts he'll go somewhere. And wherever he goes, that team will be getting a heck of a player and heck of a leader."

An extremely private individual who briefly opened his life to the public when his son was born with a neurodegenerative disease during Tampa Bay's Super Bowl run, Jurevicius has been limited by injuries since tearing a knee ligament in the second game of the 2003 season.

He began last season on the reserve non-football injury list after having back surgery in August. After sitting out the first six games, the seventh-year pro returned to catch 27 passes for 333 yards and two TDs.

Johnson is a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 13 seasons with Minnesota, Washington and Tampa Bay, including 2002 when he threw a Bucs-record 22 TD passes in 13 games. He led Tampa Bay to the playoffs twice in his four seasons.

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