Former Louisiana State defensive tackle Al Woods began his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and opened the 2010 campaign on the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad, but he'll get his first chance at regular-season action with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers signed Woods to their active roster from the Steelers' practice squad, where he had spent the first eight weeks of the season. Tampa Bay had been seeking depth for its interior line after placing rookie defensive tackle Brian Price on injured reserve on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers actually addressed the position twice on Wednesday, also signing defensive tackle Doug Worthington to the practice squad. Worthington takes the spot opened on that crew when tackle Will Barker was promoted to the active roster last week.
The 6-4, 307-pound Woods originally entered the NFL this past April as a fourth round selection of the Saints, taken 123rd overall. He went to training camp with New Orleans and was on the roster for the entire preseason before being waived on the final roster cutdown on September 4. The Steelers then signed Woods to their practice squad, where he remained until the Bucs called this week. Players on an any team's practice squad are eligible to be signed by another team at any time as long as that second team is signing the player to the active roster.
At LSU, Woods appeared in 41 games with 16 starts and recorded 73 tackles, 3.5 sacks and eight tackles for a loss. As a senior, he started all 13 games and contributed 33 tackles, one sack, two passes defensed and a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown. During the Tigers' national championship season in 2007, Woods was a key contributor with 22 tackles, two sacks and tied for an SEC lead with three fumble recoveries.
Worthington (6-5, 292) also started the 2010 season on Pittsburgh's practice squad, though he spent just three days on that unit. He was drafted by the Steelers out of Ohio State in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, taken 242nd overall, and like Woods he was released on the final cutdown day.
At Ohio State, Worthington was a starter for most of his final three seasons. As a senior in 2009, he played in 13 games and totaled 42 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks. He was part of a Buckeye defense that held opposing teams to 90 rushing yards per game, the seventh-best mark in the nation.