The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense may soon have a key reserve back in action. On Wednesday, the Buccaneers designated second-year inside linebacker K.J. Britt to return from injured reserve. Britt has been on the I.R. list since he suffered an ankle injury in the team's Week Seven loss at Carolina.
The Buccaneers also signed tackle Grant Hermanns and safety Nolan Turner to the practice squad. Those moves filled the two open spots created on Tuesday with the release of tackle Dylan Cook and cornerback Ryan Smith.
Players placed on injured reserve must remain on that list four at least four games before they are eligible to return to the active roster; Britt has missed five contests. His designation to return opens a 21-day window in which he can practice with the team without counting against the 53-man roster. He can be activated at any point during those three weeks. The Buccaneers currently have an open spot on the active roster after waiving wide receiver Jaelon Darden on Tuesday.
Each team can designate up to eight players to return from injured reserve during the season. Britt is the fourth player for whom the Buccaneers have used this option. In each of the other three cases – tackle Josh Wells in Week Seven, running back Giovani Bernard in Week 12 and safety Logan Ryan in Week 13 – the player was also activated to the 53-man roster in the same week.
Britt began the season as the Buccaneers' primary backup to both of the team's starting inside linebackers, Lavonte David and Devin White. He played exclusively on special teams over the first seven weeks and contributed three kick-coverage stops. A fifth-round pick out of Auburn in 2021, Britt played in all 17 games of his rookie season and registered seven tackles, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed on defense. He also had five special teams tackles.
Turner, who originally signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson in May, returns to the practice squad, where he spent the first seven weeks of the season before being promoted to the active roster on October 27. He has seen action in four games this season. Turner was waived on Monday when Ryan returned from injured reserve.
Hermanns most recently spent a month on the Miami Dolphins' practice squad but he started the season on the New York Jets' practice squad and saw action in two games after a pair of game day elevations. He originally signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue in 2021 and he spent all of last season on New York's practice squad.