FB Chris Pressley spent the first seven weeks of the season on Cincinnati's practice squad before the Buccaneers came calling
Earnest Graham now has some help.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced on Wednesday the signing of rookie fullback Chris Pressley, who spent the first seven weeks of the season on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad. The addition of Pressley restores depth to the Bucs' fullback position, where Graham, primarily a tailback by trade, had been filling in since the season-ending injury to B.J. Askew.
Pressley fills the open spot on the 53-man roster created on Tuesday when the Buccaneers released offensive linemen Sean Mahan and Marcus Johnson but added just one player, promoting tackle James Lee from the practice squad.
The Bucs also had one open spot on their practice squad heading into Wednesday and filled it by signing rookie defensive end Maurice Evans. Both Pressley and Evans were signed in time to join the team for the first of its two bye-week practices.
Pressley is the second former Bengal to join the Buccaneers this season, as the team also signed second-year safety Corey Lynch on September 23. Both Pressley and Lynch were featured prominently in the 2009 "Hard Knocks" program on HBO, which provided an inside look at the Bengals' training camp.
The 5-11, 260-pound Pressley originally signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent this past spring. Known for feats of strength in the weight room, he earned a reputation as a powerful lead blocker at the University of Wisconsin. Pressley missed the 2006 season due to an ankle injury but he played in 37 games in 2005 and 2007-08 and blocked for three individual 1,000-yard seasons. In his last two campaigns, Pressley opened holes for Badger running back P.J. Hill, who gained 1,212 yards in 2007 and 1,161 yards in 2008, averaging over five yards per carry each season.
Pressley also carried the ball 25 times during his Wisconsin career, gaining 103 yards and one touchdown and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. In 2008, he was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and the recipient of the conference's Sportsmanship Award. Pressley was a prep standout in his hometown of Woodbury, New Jersey.
Evans had two previous stints on the Buccaneers' active roster this season, though he did not see game action in either case. He was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay from the New York Giants on September 6 but was inactive for the season opener against Dallas and then released on September 14. The Bucs then re-signed Evans at the beginning of the season's fifth week, on October 7, but released him again at the end of the week before playing at Philadelphia.
Evans entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Giants. He played at Penn State, where he posted his best season in 2007 with 12.5 sacks, 54 tackles and five forced fumbles.