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Replacements Pulled from Practice Squad

Posted Dec 16, 2014

With three prominent Bucs headed to I.R., the team will give opportunities to three young players, promoting WR Tavarres King, FB/TE Evan Rodriguez and DT George Uko from the practice squad.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, wide receiver Louis Murphy and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on injured reserve, making official the pending moves Head Coach Lovie Smith had revealed on Monday. That left the 53-man roster three players short with two games to go, and the Buccaneers did the most logical thing, promoting replacements from their own practice squad.

As such, wide receiver Tavarres King, tight end/fullback Evan Rodriguez and defensive tackle George Uko will all get an opportunity to play their first games as Buccaneers. For King and Uko, in fact, any action they see over the final two weeks will also represent their NFL regular-season debuts. Rodriguez previously played 12 games for Lovie Smith's Chicago Bears in 2012 and another seven last season in Buffalo.

Obviously, those moves in turn created three vacancies on Tampa Bay's practice squad, one of which was filled on Tuesday with the signing of rookie wide receiver Chandler Jones. Most recently a member of the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad, the 5-9, 183-pound Jones originally entered the NFL in May as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns. He played his college football at San Jose State, setting the school's single-season record in 2013 with 15 touchdown receptions.

The 6-1, 210-pound King joined the Bucs' practice squad on October 29 after being waived two days earlier by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had been on the Jaguars' active roster for five games, though he was a game-day inactive for each contest, after starting the season on the Carolina Panther's practice squad.

The former University of Georgia standout was a fifth-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2013. As a rookie, he went from the Broncos practice squad to their active roster to the waiver wire in mid-October. The Panthers claimed him off waivers and then made him a game-day inactive for the remaining 10 weeks. King has thus spent approximately one full season on NFL active rosters but is still looking for his first regular-season action. With Murphy out and the Bucs looking to replace the production of their third receiver, King could get a shot along with such other relatively unproven options as Russell Shepard, Robert Herron and Solomon Patton.

WR Tavarres King has been on the active roster for two other NFL teams but is still looking for his first regular-season game action

The Bears drafted the 6-2, 239-pound Rodriguez in the fourth round in 2012, Smith's final year as the team's head coach. In his 19 games between the Bears and the Bills, Rodriguez recorded five starts and caught four passes for 21 yards. He went to camp with Buffalo again this summer but was waived during the final round of cuts. The Buccaneers were able to add him to their practice squad in late November thanks to the newly-created exemptions that allow two spots on that unit to be filled by players with up to two years of NFL service.

Like Jones, the 6-3, 284-pound Uko is an NFL rookie, having originally entered the league this spring as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints. He was waived by the Saints on August 26 and signed on for his first stint on the Bucs' practice squad on October 13. He was on that squad for two weeks, off for the next two and then re-signed in Week 12. Uko played his college ball at USC, playing in 39 games and making 15 starts at defensive tackle plus another 14 at end. His career totals for the Trojans included 85 tackles, 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.