By ROY CUMMINGS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 12, 2012
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers definitely will be in the market for a third-down running back when free agency opens on Tuesday.
The two players the Bucs used most at that position in 2011 will be unrestricted free agents after the team decided last week not to tender restricted free agent running back Kregg Lumpkin.
Lumpkin will join Earnest Graham, who worked as the third-down back for seven games before a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury, as an unrestricted free agent.
Lumpkin ran 31 times for 105 yards and caught 41 passes for 291 yards last season. He was slated to become the team's top third-down option after the team decided not to re-sign Cadillac Williams in free agency, but was beaten out in training camp by Earnest Graham.
Lumpkin's agent, Hadley Engelhard, said the Bucs have expressed a desire to retain Lumpkin but decided against tendering him. Engelhard said Lumpkin will test the market but hopes to remain in Tampa.
The decision not to tender Lumpkin leaves the Bucs with just three running backs on the roster: LeGarrette Blount, Mossis Madu and fullback Erik Lorig.