The Tampa Bay Buccaneers promoted rookie safety Ahmad Black from the practice squad on Friday, making Black the seventh member of the team's 2011 draft class to make the active roster this season.
Black took the spot on the 53-man roster opened when defensive end Tim Crowder was placed on injured reserve. Crowder, who started nine games in 2010, appeared in 10 of the Buccaneers' first 12 games this season but left last Sunday's contest against Carolina early after suffering a head injury. The move to injured reserve ends his fifth NFL season four games early.
The Buccaneers drafted Black in the fifth round this past April, making him the 151st selection overall. The former University of Florida standout now joins fellow 2011 draftees Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers, Mason Foster, Luke Stocker and Anthony Gaitor on the active roster. Sixth-round pick Allen Bradford also made the team out of training camp but was released on October 13 and is now on the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad. Only seventh-round tight end Daniel Hardy, who recently signed to the New Orleans Saints' practice squad, has not been on the active roster this season.
Black, a Lakeland native and lifelong Buccaneers fan,
At Florida, Black emerged as one of the Gators' biggest defensive playmakers. In 48 games and 39 starts he racked up 244 tackles, 13 interceptions, 14 tackles for loss, 15 passes defensed, two sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns. As a senior, he was named to the AP All-America second team.
Black originally joined the Gators as a cornerback and saw reserve action in that role as a freshman, but his career really took off when he was switched to strong safety before his sophomore campaign. Over the next three years he would start 39 of a possible 41 games and increase his tackle and tackle-for-loss totals every year. He exploded on the scene with seven interceptions in 2008, tying for fourth in the nation in that category.
As a senior, Black put together his finest season, starting all 13 games and recording 108 tackles, five interceptions, one sack, 11 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. He saved his absolute best for last, leading the Gators to a 37-24 victory over Penn State in the 2011 Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. Black intercepted two passes on the day, returning one of them 80 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with a 1:11 left in the game. He was named the MVP of that game, which was played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers.
An ankle injury suffered in the 2011 preseason opener kept Black out for most of the preseason, and he was waived during the final roster cutdown on September 4. Black was signed back to the practice squad the next day and has remained on that crew the entire season until his promotion on Friday.
Crowder served as part of the team's defensive end rotation in 2011, playing in 10 games and contributing 14 tackles, two tackles for loss and six quarterback pressures. His five-year career totals, which include two seasons in Denver and three with the Bucs, include 126 tackles and 10.5 sacks.