For the second day in a row, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have activated a player from their injured reserve list, putting him on the 53-man roster. In this case, the activated player was tight end Antony Auclair, and the player the Buccaneers waived to make room for him on the roster was…the player they activated from injured reserve on Friday, rookie guard John Molchon.
Auclair played in just one game before landing on injured reserve in September, as he suffered a calf injury in the season opener at New Orleans. Under the revised I.R. rules of 2020, Auclair was eligible to return to the active roster after as few as three games had possessed, but he ended up missing the last six contests. Auclair returned to practice on October 21, beginning another period of up to three weeks in which he could practice with the team without counting against the active roster.
Auclair (6-6, 256) has been one of the Buccaneers' best blocking tight ends since taking over that role from veteran Luke Stocker late in his 2017 rookie season. The Buccaneers originally signed Auclair as an undrafted free agent out of Université Laval in Quebec. He made the active roster as a rookie and played in eight games with three starts.
Over the past two seasons, Auclair played in 24 games with 15 starts, with his 2019 campaign ending early due to a toe injury. Though he contributes mostly as a blocker, Auclair has caught 10 career passes for 84 yards.
Auclair joins Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate and Tanner Hudson on the Bucs' tight end depth chart. The team had started the season with four tight ends before losing Auclair in Week One. In Week Two, the team elevated Hudson from the practice squad to make him eligible to play against Carolina, and then Hudson was subsequently promoted to the active roster in Week Three. That brought the tight end crew back to four players but the Bucs have been playing with three since O.J. Howard suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Week Four.
Molchon was on the 53-man roster for one day after being activated on Friday. He had been placed on injured reserve on September 6 after being retained through the cut-down to 53 players.