April 28, 2004
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently have won the sweepstakes for Ian Gold.
The Tampa Tribune reported on its web site Tuesday night that the Bucs have signed the free agent linebacker to a five-year contract.
The newspaper did not reveal financial terms, but ESPN reported the deal could be worth as much as $30 million.
"He visited a lot of teams; this team we were able to connect the dots," Gold's agent, Carl Poston, told the newspaper. "Everything just fit."
The Bucs have not confirmed the report.
Gold reportedly also drew interest from Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans.
The 25-year-old spent his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos and garnered Pro Bowl honors in 2001 for his work on special teams. He has been a starter the last two years at weak side linebacker.
Last season, Gold missed the final 10 games after tearing his right ACL on October 10. He is expected to be ready for training camp.
Although he has been best suited for the weak side, Gold likely will compete with Ryan Nece for a starting position on the strong side with the Bucs. Derrick Brooks, who has earned seven straight Pro Bowl berths, is the Bucs' starter on the weak side.
A 2000 second-round draft pick, Gold recorded a career-high 100 tackles two seasons ago.
T.S. - "You don't have to love me, but you will [b]RESPECT[/b] me"