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Jets Sign DE Steve White

March 8, 2002

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ Defensive end Steve White, who had five of his 11 career sacks last season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, agreed to a four-year contract Thursday with the New York Jets.

White played six seasons in Tampa, starting 15 games, 13 of them in 1999. Herman Edwards, the Jets’ coach, was an assistant with the Bucs for the first five of those seasons.

He will get $7.25 million, including a $1.3 million signing bonus.

Edwards said the Jets also were continuing to talk with Josh Evans, a defensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans.

White, who played at the University of Tennessee, was drafted by Philadelphia in 1996, tried as a linebacker and then released.

``The thing that really jumps out on Steve White is that he plays hard on every play,″ Edwards said. ``He’s always around the quarterback making things happen.″

Edwards said White will get the opportunity to start for the Jets, competing with John Abraham, an All-Pro last season, and Shaun Ellis.

``He’s from a winning program,″ Edwards said. ``You always want to bring in players who have been there. Given the opportunity, he can be a very, very good player in this league.″

White said he hoped to provide leadership to a young group of defensive linemen. He said Tampa wanted to re-sign him, but that the opportunity to start and be reunited with Edwards worked in the Jets’ favor.

The Jets also are interested in other members of the Bucs. Edwards said cornerback Brian Kelly would be in next week. Another cornerback, Aaron Beasley of Jacksonville, will be in Friday.

Both of last year’s starters at cornerback, Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman, were lost to Houston in the expansion draft.

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