Tampa Bay’s 2006 season was put out of its misery for one Bucs players Tuesday when the team placed wide receiver Michael Clayton on injured reserve.
Clayton sustained a serious knee injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. The injury, which is believed to be a MCL sprain, came just a few plays after Clayton had dropped a sure touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski while running wide open down the right sideline
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Clayton caught 33 passes for 356 yards and just one touchdown while starting all 12 games this season.
This marks the second time in as many seasons that Clayton has been placed on injured reserve.
As challenging as this year has been for the 3-9 Bucs, last season was even tougher for Clayton, who underwent two knee surgeries during the offseason, which caused him to rehab the injured knee late in the offseason and report to training camp out of shape.
In addition to battling his way back from the knee injury, Clayton suffered a dislocated shoulder and turf toe injury, which finally landed him on IR as the Bucs were making a playoff push.
Although he’s been healthy this season, Clayton’s production hasn’t changed much since last season, when he caught 32 passes for 372 yards and no touchdowns.
Clayton has been attempting to return to his rookie form, where he caught a team-high 80 passes for 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns after entering the league as a first-round draft pick in 2004. He is the fifth Bucs starter to be placed on injured reserve this season.
With Clayton out for the season, the Bucs re-signed WR Mark Jones, who originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick with the Bucs in ’04 and played in four regular season games this season before being released on Nov. 13.
Jones doesn’t have any career catches, but returned 13 punts for 109 yards this season.
In addition to those moves, the Bucs signed fullback Jon Goldsberry to their eight-man practice squad. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2005.
The Bucs were able to sign Goldsberry to their tax squad after the Detroit Lions signed Tampa Bay practice squad defensive tackle Anthony Bryant to their active roster. Bryant originally entered the league as a sixth-round pick out of Alabama in 2005.
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