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Bucs Sign RB Hill, Place James on IR

Posted Nov 13, 2013

After placing RB Mike James on injured reserve, Tampa Bay used the open roster spot to address their backfield depth concerns, signing rookie RB Michael Hill off the Packers' practice squad

  • Rookie RB Michael Hill had 24 TDs and nearly 3,500 rushing yards in his last two seasons at Missouri Western
  • The Bucs signed Hill from Green Bay's practice squad after placing RB Mike James on injured reserve
  • Hill originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with San Diego in May
Rookie running back Michael Hill got a promotion to the active roster in September when the injury bug hit his team, the Green Bay Packers.  Now Hill is being promoted for a second time in 2013, but this time he has to change his NFL address, too.

On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed their own injury-depleted backfield by signing Hill off Green Bay's practice squad, to which he had been re-signed after a two-week stint on the Packers' 53-man roster.  A spot on Tampa Bay's roster was created for Hill when running back Mike James was placed on injured reserve.

Hill entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers after a dominant two-year run at the Division II level with Missouri Western.  Hill's career totals with the Griffons included 3,473 yards and 24 touchdowns on 576 carries, plus 52 receptions for 477 yards and another seven scores.  He averaged a remarkable 6.0 yards per carry and 133.6 rushing yards per game in 26 outings.  In 2012, Hill led all Division II running backs with 2,168 rushing yards, scoring 16 times and averaging 7.0 yards per handoff.

Hill joins a Buccaneer backfield that has lost four tailbacks to injured reserve this year, including three in the last two weeks.  Second-year man Michael Smith was placed on I.R. to begin the season while Jeff Demps, Doug Martin and James all followed in recent days.  James had replaced Martin, a 2012 Pro Bowler as a rookie, as the starter after Martin's shoulder injury and had run for 238 yards in three starts, including 41 on the first drive of Monday night's win over Miami.  Unfortunately, James fractured an ankle on his last carry on Monday, meaning the team will now turn to veteran Brian Leonard and recent waiver-wire pickup Bobby Rainey to lead the rushing attack.  Hill provides valuable depth and, given the turnover the Bucs have had in the backfield, may get an opportunity of his own at some point.

-- RB Michael Hill saw action in two games for the Packers in October
The 5-11, 205-pound Hill got into two games with the Packers while he was on the active roster but did not log a carry.  During the preseason, he played in four games with the Chargers and carried 21 times for 60 yards, adding two receptions for 15 yards.  The Packers initially signed Hill to their practice squad on September 2 after he was waived by San Diego.

Hill joined the Buccaneers on Wednesday in time to suit up for the team's afternoon practice, wearing jersey #44.