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Buccaneers announce the signings of Giovani Bernard, Steve McLendon

Moves made official Wednesday.

Cincinnati Bengals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Running back Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on August 24, 2015.
Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today the signing of veteran running back Giovani Bernard and the re-signing of defensive tackle Steve McLendon.

Bernard (5-9, 205) comes to Tampa Bay after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2013-20). Since entering the league as a second-round selection (No. 37 overall) by Cincinnati in the 2013 NFL Draft, Bernard has amassed 3,697 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns on 921 career carries (4.0 avg.) to go along with 342 receptions for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has appeared in 115 career games, making 30 starts. Bernard has played in three career playoff games, tallying 31 carries for 79 yards and hauling in 17 receptions for 121 yards.

Since entering the league in 2013, Bernard ranks third among all NFL running backs in both receptions (342) and receiving yards (2,867), seventh in receiving first downs (114) and 10th in receiving average (8.4). During that same span, Bernard is tied with James White for the league lead among running backs with 21 receptions of 25-or-more yards.

McLendon (6-3, 310) was acquired by the Buccaneers from the New York Jets on Oct. 20, 2020. He started each of the first six weeks of the regular season for New York before playing in nine games with Tampa Bay. In total, McLendon recorded 31 tackles, including two for loss.

He originally entered the league as a college free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009, where he remained until 2015, prior to signing with New York as an unrestricted free agent in 2016.

Over 153 career regular season games, including 90 starts, McLendon has tallied 265 tackles (42 for loss), 25 quarterback hits, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two passes defensed.

McLendon has also played in seven career playoff games, making two starts, totaling 13 tackles (one for loss) and three quarterback hits. He played in three of Tampa Bay’s four postseason games in 2020 on the team’s road to a Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, recording five tackles and three quarterback hits.

Entering his 12th season in the NFL, McLendon has been a part of six defenses that finished in the top 10 in opponent rushing average, including both the 2020 season with the Buccaneers and the 2016 season in which McLendon played for then-Jets head coach and current Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles in New York.

(Courtesy of the Buccaneers Communications Department.)