Bucs pick Leftwich to be starting QB

Byron Leftwich has been named Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback, winning the job over Luke McCown, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris notified both players of his anticipated decision Saturday morning.

McCown will serve as Leftwich’s backup, with rookie Josh Freeman the No. 3. Second-year pro Josh Johnson will be the fourth quarterback, but ideally, the Bucs don’t want to carry four quarterbacks and would prefer to trade one, most likely McCown.

They also could release Johnson, but they would prefer to hang on to the developing prospect.

This is the second time in four career stops that Leftwich has been the starter, having occupied that role for years for the Jaguars.  In 2007, he started two games for the Falcons as a replacement to Joey Harrington, but ankle and back injuries sidetracked things. Leftwich appeared in five games with the Steelers last season but all as a backup.

How long Leftwich starts for the Bucs remains to be seen. The team projects Freeman, drafted in the first round this April, to assume the No. 1 spot eventually, although that might not happen this season.

— Steve Wyche

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