The Buccaneers announced hours before the 8:20 kickoff against the Vikings that DE Da'Quan Bowers has been activated to the 53-man roster. Bowers traveled to Minnesota with the team and is expected to play on the NFL Network's Thursday Night Football game.
The second-year defensive end played in all 16 games last year as a rookie recording 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. Bowers' five passes defensed were the most by a Buccaneers lineman in 2011.
The Bucs' second round selection in the 2011 draft tore his Achilles tendon in May in an offseason training program and has had an accelerated recovery as some Achilles injuries can take up to a year to heal. Tampa Bay placed Bowers on the PUP list to start the regular season and under NFL regulations had to remain on the physically unable to perform list for six weeks.
Beginning on October 15th, the Bucs had 21 days to decide if Bowers would be activated, placed on IR (injured reserve), or be waived. On Tuesday October 16th, the former Clemson Tiger was cleared to practice from a specialist in Pensacola and began practicing with the team the following day. One week and one day later, the defensive end was removed from the PUP list and placed on the active roster.
Tampa Bay waived DE Markus White when the three week evaluation period began, leaving an empty roster spot available. Last Saturday, one day before the New Orleans game, CB LeQuan Lewis was activated from the practice squad to fill the final spot.
Lewis has been waived in order to make room for Bower's activation and can be re-signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad should the second-year corner clear waivers.
The announcement that Bowers has been activated and will play against the Vikings is welcomed news. Tampa Bay has only registered eight sacks this season, seven coming from DE Michael Bennett and Gerald McCoy. Bowers should add more pass rushing capability and shore up an already stout Buccaneer run defense.
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