On Tuesday, the Bucs opened 21-day windows on both T Demar Dotson and DT Akeem Spence to facilitate their potential returns to the active roster…Plus, practice squad changes.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open Week Seven of the 2015 season with three new players on the practice squad and two more who are eligible to practice for the first time in months.
Offensive tackle Demar Dotson and defensive tackle Akeem Spence will join the Buccaneers on the practice field Tuesday as they continue their recoveries from knee and back injuries, respectively. Dotson is currently on the injured reserve/designated for return list while Spence is on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, but both could be back on the active roster within three weeks.
The Buccaneers also made a series of moves to their practice squad, restoring that crew to its 10-man limit. Defensive tackle Derrick Lott was released, offensive tackle Martin Wallace returned for his third stint with the team and cornerbacks Keon Lyn and Dax Swanson were added to the mix. Tampa Bay already had two open spots on its practice squad due to the Week Five promotion of tackle Reid Fragel and last week’s release of cornerback Isaiah Frey.
Each team in the NFL is allowed one “designated for return” option for a player placed on I.R., and the Bucs used theirs on their starting right tackle, who suffered a knee injury in the preseason opener in early August. Under that designation, Dotson was required to sit out at least eight weeks of the regular season, but he could begin practicing after six weeks. The Buccaneers will know have up to 21 days to either activate Dotson or place him back on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
It’s a similar story for Spence, who missed all of the team’s training camp and preseason due to his back injury. He too was eligible to being practicing after six weeks, with a 21-day window for the team to decide how to handle his roster eligibility.
Prior to suffering his injury at Minnesota on August 15, Dotson had started 47 consecutive games for the Buccaneers and quietly emerged as one of the league’s most effective right tackles. In response to his mishap, Tampa Bay signed veteran Gosder Cherilus, who has started the first five games at right tackle and helped the offensive line develop into one of the team’s most pleasant surprises in 2015.
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Before his injury, Spence had played in all 32 games of his first two NFL seasons after the Buccaneers took him out of Illinois in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He started 14 games as a rookie and another five last year, contributing 48 tackles and four sacks.
Wallace has officially been on the Bucs’ practice squad for three of the first five games. He was first signed by the Buccaneers on September 9, then released on September 15 and re-signed on September 22. The Bucs let Wallace go again on October 6 but found room and a need for him again to being Week Seven. The 6-6, 330-pound tackle played his college ball at Temple and first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland in 2013. He saw action in one regular-season game for the Browns as a rookie and spent all of last year on Carolina’s practice squad.
Lyn (6-1, 201) has worked hard to overcome a fractured kneecap that robbed him of the last eight games of his 2013 senior season at Syracuse. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by Indianapolis in 2014 but waived in the summer before getting back on the field. Lyn subsequently spent time in the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League and also participated in the NFL’s veteran scouting combine. He signed with the New York Jets midway through training camp this summer but was released on the final roster cut-down. The Jets added Lyn to the practice squad but let him go on September 30. At Syracuse, he started 10 games as a junior and recorded 46 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defensed.
The 5-11, 191-pound Swanson spent most of last season on the New England Patriots’ practice squad. The Sam Houston State product first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Indianapolis in 2013 but was waived/injured at the end of the ’13 preseason and eventually ended up on San Francisco’s practice squad. He went from San Fran to New England during the 2014 offseason and went to camp with the Patriots each of the last two summers. At SHSU, Swanson played in 41 games over three seasons and contributed 129 tackles, 14 interceptions and 31 passes defensed.