Vanderbilt's Gatewood, Buggs sign as free agents

Monday, April 28, 2008 at 6:30pm

Former Vanderbilt football players Marcus Buggs and Curtis Gatewood signed free-agent contracts Monday after not being selected in this past weekend's NFL Draft.

Buggs, an outside linebacker, signed with the Buffalo Bills. Gatewood, a defensive end, signed with the Washington Redskins and is expected to work out at outside linebacker.

Buggs, a Nashville native and Goodpasture High graduate, considered free-agent offers from Buffalo, the Chicago Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"If I didn't get drafted, I wasn't going to hang my head," he said. "All I needed was my shot. Buffalo seemed like the best spot."

Buggs said the Bills called him over the weekend while the draft was still in progress.

"They said they would consider drafting me, but if they didn't, they wanted me as a free agent," Buggs said.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Buggs recorded 76 tackles in 2007, Vanderbilt's third-best total and the 20th best in the Southeastern Conference.

Gatewood, who began his VU career as a linebacker, moved to defensive end before the 2006 season and recorded a team-high seven sacks. He finished with 3.5 sacks and 30 tackles in 2007.

"I never at one point thought I wouldn't get drafted," Gatewood said. "It was a real shock. It was one of those raw deals because I had a pretty good draft rating, but things didn't go in my favor."

Gatewood chose to sign with the Redskins after speaking with eight teams since the draft ended. He'll participate in a mini-camp this weekend with other newcomers.

The Redskins project Gatewood as an outside linebacker. He believes his experience at that position at Vanderbilt will help him.

"I don't think it's going to be a huge transition, but I haven't seen the offense from that perspective in awhile," Gatewood said. "Doing it at the next level will make it twice as hard, but Vanderbilt helped prepare me to learn at a high level."

Vanderbilt defensive tackle Theo Horrocks signed a free-agent deal Sunday with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Another Commodore defensive tackle, Gabe Hall, was in discussions Monday with the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens.

Offensive tackle Brian Stamper could sign this week with the Cleveland Browns if he passes a physical exam. He missed half the 2006 season after undergoing back surgery.

Offensive guard Josh Eames has heard from the Kansas City Chiefs and could sign a free-agent contract this week.

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