WR Chad Lucas has been learning the Buccaneers' offense since midway through the 2006 season
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have promoted a pair of young receivers from their practice squad, and there's a very real chance they will get to play this weekend against the Carolina Panthers.
Getting the call up to the active roster on Wednesday were wideouts Brian Clark and Chad Lucas. Both receivers are well schooled in the Buccaneers' offense, as Lucas has spent essentially the entire season on Tampa Bay's practice squad and Clark joined that unit in Week 10.
The Bucs were in need of healthy players in the receiving corps after Maurice Stovall was injured last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Stovall, who suffered a broken right arm, was officially placed on injured reserve Tuesday. In addition, wide receiver Joey Galloway aggravated a minor shoulder injury against San Francisco and the team may wish to be cautious with his recovery. The Buccaneers cannot improve their playoff seeding with a victory against Carolina, so they may choose to substitute liberally in the lineup, as they did against the 49ers.
Stovall's move to IR opened up one spot on the 53-man roster and the Bucs cleared another one by releasing tight end Keith Heinrich. After Heinrich cleared waivers, he was re-signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad. The Bucs also added another receiver, rookie Julius McClellan, to the practice squad.
Clark (6-2, 204) joined the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and eventually appeared in six regular-season games during his rookie season. Though he spent more than half of the season on the Broncos' practice squad, Clark still led the team in kickoff returns (23) and kickoff return yards (512), averaging 22.3 yards per runback. He also caught four passes for 23 yards during his time on the active roster.
Clark made the team again this season and appeared in four games before being waived in early October. Though he was born in Jacksonville, Clark played his high school football in Tampa. As a senior, he helped lead Chamberlain High School to the Class 5A state championship.
The speedy Lucas (6-1, 201) has actually spent the better part of two seasons on Tampa Bay's practice squad. He first joined the team midway through 2006, then went to training camp with the Buccaneers this summer and impressed with his playmaking ability downfield. Lucas was briefly added to the 53-man roster on two occasions earlier this season. He first got the call just before the first Carolina game, though he was released on Saturday when the Bucs instead signed Donte Nicholson to address a shortage at safety. Lucas was again added to the active roster before the Jacksonville game in Week Eight, and he played on special teams in that contest.
Lucas first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2004, after a collegiate career split between Troy State and Alabama State. He later saw time on Green Bay's practice squad in 2005 and was briefly promoted to the Packers' active roster, appearing in one game. Lucas has also played in the Arena League, with the San Jose SaberCats in 2004, and in NFL Europe, with the Amsterdam Admirals in 2006.
McClellan entered the league with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent this past spring. He was released early in training camp. A Lakeland native who starred in both football and basketball at Kathleen High School, McClellan played two seasons at North Carolina Central and amassed 41 receptions for 690 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 6-3, 238-pound receiver was a second-team All-CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) choice as a senior in 2006.