TE Jerramy Stevens has 19 touchdowns in 86 career games, including four for the Bcucaneers last year
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Jerramy Stevens ended last season on a high note, catching all four of his 2007 touchdowns in the month of December.
Now Stevens has an opportunity to continue that momentum into 2008, albeit one delayed by two games.
The Buccaneers announced on Wednesday that Stevens has been activated from the reserve/suspended list. In order to make room for Stevens on the 53-man roster, the team released fellow tight end Ben Troupe.
At 6-7 and 260-pounds, Stevens is a physically gifted athlete who poses matchup problems for opposing defenders. He finished the 2007 campaign, his first as a Buccaneer, with 18 receptions for 189 yards and four scores in 15 games (three starts).
Stevens spent his first five NFL seasons in Seattle after the Seahawks made him a first-round draft pick out of the University of Washington in 2002. He played in 71 games with 26 starts for Seattle, recording 148 receptions for 1,647 yards and 19 touchdowns. Stevens' top season came in 2005, when he helped the Seahawks advance to Super Bowl XL with a 45 receptions for 554 yards and five touchdowns, all career highs.
Stevens will rejoin a tight end group that also includes Alex Smith, who has already caught four passes for 39 yards in 2008, and John Gilmore, who notched his first touchdown as a Buccaneer on Sunday from five yards out and later added a 36-yard grab.
Head Coach Jon Gruden said on Monday that he was looking forward to getting Stevens back and finding ways to utilize him along with the rest of the Bucs' talented tight ends.
"We do miss Jerramy," Gruden said. "He's a guy that really helps us as a threat, as a receiver particularly, and he's a guy that has shown improvement as a blocker. But to bring him back on board we've got to create a space for him and that will be a tough call for us."
That tough call meant the departure of Troupe, a solid pass-catching tight end in his own right. Troupe, who was signed by the Buccaneers as a free agent in March, played in the first two games of the 2008 campaign but had yet to record a reception.
Prior to joining the Bucs, Troupe had spent the first four seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans. In 55 career games with the Titans (28 starts), Troupe tallied 106 receptions for 1,056 yards and seven touchdowns.
In other transaction news, the Bucs made a swap of practice squad cornerbacks. The team added Kyle Arrington, most recently of the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad, and released Brandon Sumrall in the accompanying move. Both Arrington and Sumrall were undrafted rookie free agents this past spring.
The 5-10, 196-pound Arrington played his college ball at Hofstra before joining the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent this offseason. Arrington was released as part of the Eagles' roster cut-downs last month, but was signed to Philadelphia's practice squad on September 1.
During his four-year career at Hofstra, including three as a starter, Arrington played in 39 games and recorded 146 tackles and two interceptions. Last fall, Arrington notched 53 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss, one interception, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The 5-10, 193-pound Sumrall was a first-team All-Conference USA performer at Southern Mississippi who signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in April. After being released during Minnesota's roster cuts, Sumrall was signed to the Bucs' practice squad on September 1.