The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed quarterback Bryan Randall to their practice squad on Monday. The 6-foot, 228-pound Randall played collegiately at Virginia Tech and entered the NFL in 2005 with the Atlanta Falcons. In order to make room for Randall on their practice squad, the Bucs released tight end Keith Heinrich.

“He’s an athletic guy that will be able to simulate some of the athletic ability of quarterbacks we’re going to see,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of Randall. “He’s a good, athletic-type guy to look at. We’ll use the next few days or maybe even weeks, however long he plays well for us, to take a look at him.”

The roster moves come one day after Bucs quarterback Chris Simms was released from the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery last Sunday to remove a ruptured spleen he suffered during Tampa Bay’s 26-24 loss to Carolina.

The Bucs are expected to place Simms on injured reserve. In the meantime, they appear to be prepared to take just two quarterbacks – rookie Bruce Gradkowski and Tim Rattay – into their Oct. 8 contest in New Orleans.

One of the reasons why Tampa Bay might opt to wait to sign a quarterback to its active roster is because of the progress made by Luke McCown, who is well on his way to making a full recovery from the knee surgery he underwent in late June. McCown is eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list after Tampa Bay’s sixth game of the regular season.

In the meantime, Gruden said the Bucs are working on several different contingency plans should both Gradkowski and Rattay be rendered unavailable in a game due to injuries. 

“We’ve got some guys, some sleeping giant candidates, that we won’t announce,” said Gruden. “But we have used this bye week to get three or four guys some reps so we can evaluate who can do what. If need be, and God forbid that happens, but if need be we would be able to go out and finish a football game.”


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