With a number of key defenders on the injury report and uncertain for Monday night's game against the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have elevated cornerback Anthony Chesley and inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert from the practice squad. Both are now eligible to play against the Saints.
Teams can only elevate any specific player from the practice squad three times during the regular season, and these are the final options for both Chesley and Gilbert. Chesley was activated in Weeks Six and Seven and this will be the third straight elevation for Gilbert.
Chesley gives the Buccaneers another option in the secondary, where they are likely to be without starting safeties Mike Edwards and Antoine Winfield Jr. as well as third corner Sean Murphy-Bunting. All three were designated as doubtful for Monday night on the final injury report of the week. Defensive linemen Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks were also listed as questionable.
Gilbert gives the Buccaneers a fourth off-ball linebacker for the game. The team typically keeps two reserves at the position active in order to back up starters Lavonte David and Devin White. The Bucs have been carrying only one reserve (Olakunle Fatukasi) on the active roster since rookie J.J. Russell was waived on November 26.
The NFL introduced the elevation option in 2020, which allows teams to activate up to two players from their practice squad for each game. After the game, elevated players automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.
Chesley (6-0, 190) was signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad on September 1, two days after he had been waived by Indianapolis in the final roster cuts. Originally an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals out of Coastal Carolina in 2019, he split his rookie year between the practice squads in Cincinnati and Houston. Chesley landed on the Texans' practice squad again in 2020 and played in three games after game-day elevations. He signed with the Colts in 2021 and, between a two-month stint on the active roster and a couple more practice squad elevations, saw action in nine regular-season contests. In his 12 games played overall he has recorded seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
Gilbert (6-0, 230) was signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad on October 11. Originally a sixth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, Gilbert has played in 29 regular-season games and has recorded 26 tackles.