The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed fourth-year tight end Antony Auclair on injured reserve on Friday after he sustained a calf injury in the 2020 season opener in New Orleans. Auclair will be on "minor IR," meaning he could return to the active roster after missing a minimum of just three games.
The move on Friday leaves the Bucs with an open spot on the 53-man roster, which could be filled on Saturday, perhaps with tight end Tanner Hudson or another player on the team's 16-man practice squad.
"That's one of the decisions we'll have to make in the next 48 hours," said Head Coach Bruce Arians. "Who we might bring up – it will be for special teams and Hud does do some stuff on special teams, too. It could be him or it could be a couple other guys."
With the new rules regarding roster elevations from the practice squad, the Buccaneers wouldn't necessarily have to use their 53rd active roster spot in order to add reinforcements from the practice squad. The team has the option to promote two players from that unit to be available on game day and can also keep up to 48 players active, as long as eight of those 48 are offensive linemen. As an example, that's what the New Orleans Saints did in Week One against the Buccaneers, carrying a 52-man active roster and elevating two players to make it 54. They then declared six inactives to get to 48 active players for the game.
The Buccaneers have a very deep group of tight ends, and even though he is considered a very good blocker Auclair did not see any offensive snaps in last weekend's opener. He was on the field for 11 special teams plays, however, and it is likely those contributions the team will be looking to replace for Sunday.
Originally an undrafted free agent out of Laval in Canada, Auclair has played in 33 games with 18 starts since making the roster as a rookie in 2017. He also spent the last eight games of 2019 on injured reserve but appeared in all 16 games with 10 starts in 2018. He has 10 career receptions for 84 yards.