The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed a temporary shortage at the tight end position by elevating Deon Yelder from the practice squad for Thursday night's game in Philadelphia.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Buccaneers ruled tight end Rob Gronkowski out for the game against the Eagles due to the ribs injury he sustained in Los Angeles in Week Three. For the first two games that Gronkowski was out, the team elevated tight end Codey McElroy to give them a third tight end to go with Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. However, a specific player can only be elevated twice during the season, unless he is being brought up to replace a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Buccaneers currently have no players on that list.
In the two games that McElroy was elevated, he played 16 snaps on offense and 11 on special teams. Yelder was also activated for the game against the Rams in Los Angeles as a COVID replacement, though he played exclusively on special teams in that contest.
Yelder has previous regular-season playing experience, having gotten into 26 games with two starts over the past three seasons in Kansas City. His career totals include 10 receptions for 86 yards. Yelder went to training camp with the Titans this summer but was waived in August. He first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Saints out of Western Kentucky in 2018. Yelder played against the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV for the Chiefs, seeing six snaps on offense.
The practice squad elevation option was first introduced in 2020 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. It came prior to a number of other rule changes that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon in the summer of 2020 to provide teams with more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The new rule was something of a compromise, as it did not expand the active rosters beyond 53 players but did give teams a few more options on game days.
After the game, Yelder will automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.