The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trimmed their roster from 75 to 52 players before the NFL-mandated deadline of 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday. The moves were announced by the team just before 6:00 p.m. ET.
The Bucs made the following roster maneuvers (see below) in order to form their 52-man active roster, which is one less than the maximum amount of 53 players allowed by the NFL. The Bucs have an extra spot due to S Tanard Jackson's suspension, but likely will fill that roster spot within the next day or two.
Tampa Bay's Roster Moves – 9/5/09
T Anthony Alabi
CB Kyle Arrington
DT Chris Bradwell
C Rob Bruggeman
DE Jarriett Buie
S Steve Cargile
WR Patrick Carter
DT Rashaad Duncan
DE Louis Holmes
RB Kareem Huggins
CB Darrell Hunter
T James Lee
TE Jason Pociask
TE Ryan Purvis
LB Bo Ruud
WR Mario Urrutia
S Donte Nicholson
Terminated Vested Veterans:
K Matt Bryant
FB Jameel Cook
WR Cortez Hankton
WR Marcus Maxwell
Placed on Injured Reserve
T Xavier Fulton
Moved to Reserve/Suspended List
S Tanard Jackson
The Buccaneers receive roster exemptions for Jackson and guard Arron Sears.
Jackson was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2009 regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He is eligible to return in the week leading up to Tampa Bay's game at Philadelphia (Oct. 11). In the meantime, the Bucs have moved safety-turned-linebacker Jermaine Phillips back to safety to fill the void left by Jackson.
Sears, a 2007 second-round draft pick, was placed on the did-not-report list at the start of training camp after missing nearly the entire offseason with a personal issue, which has not allowed him to return to the Buccaneers. Sears, who remains on the did-not-report-list, has been replaced in the starting lineup by second-year left guard Jeremy Zuttah.
Bryant, 34, was one of the bigger names on Tampa Bay's list of roster cuts, but not necessarily a surprise. Bryant, who spent the past four seasons with the Bucs, was sidelined for most of training camp and all four preseason games with a hamstring injury.
Mike Nugent, a former second-round pick, signed with the Bucs during the offseason. He went 6-of-9 in preseason and replaces Bryant, who has made 82.1 percent of his career kicks.
The Buccaneers opted to keep four quarterbacks on their active roster for the second straight year, retaining 2008 fifth-round pick Josh Johnson, who is part of a QB stable made up of starter Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown and first-round pick Josh Freeman.
Fulton, a 2009 fifth-round draft pick, likely would have made Tampa Bay's active roster, but he sustained a serious knee injury in the preseason finale vs. Houston on Friday night, which prompted the Bucs to place him on injured reserve.
By releasing Cook, the Bucs have just two players – cornerback Ronde Barber and Phillips – that were part of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII team. It also means the Bucs are keeping just one fullback — B.J. Askew — on their active roster.
The Bucs will spend the next few days assembling their eight-man practice squad, which likely will be made up of at least a few of the players the team released Saturday.
Tampa Bay kicks off the 2009 regular season vs. Dallas on Sept. 13.