In September, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept undrafted rookie guard John Molchon on their active roster through the cut-down to 53 players and then placed him on injured reserve the next day. The moves were made in that sequence so that Molchon would remain eligible to return from I.R. at some point during the 2020 regular season.
That point was Friday, as the Buccaneers activated Molchon from injured reserve following his recovery from a training camp knee injury. No corresponding move was necessary as the team had waived outside linebacker Quinton Bell on Tuesday before re-signing Bell to the practice squad.
The activation of Molchon gives the Buccaneers 10 offensive linemen on the 53-man roster. He joins A.Q. Shipley and Aaron Stinnie as the primary reserves for the three interior line positions. The Bucs have kept eight linemen active for each game so far this season, with Stinnie on the inactive list for all seven contests.
Prior to his injury, the 6-5, 309-pound Molchon impressed in training camp after signing with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State. He was a priority target for the Buccaneers after the draft who made have been selected had he not been limited to some extent by a foot injury in his senior season with the Broncos. Molchon started 42 games over four seasons at Boise State and was named to the Mountain West all-conference first-team in 2019.
Molchon is the first player the Buccaneers have activated from injured reserve since the season began. Others on that list include tight end Antony Auclair and inside linebacker Jack Cichy. Tight end O.J. Howard and defensive linemen Vita Vea have also landed on injured reserve since the season began but are not expected back this season. Wide receiver John Franklin and running back T.J. Logan were placed on injured reserve prior to the cut-down to 53 players and thus are not eligible to return to the Bucs' active roster in 2020.