The Tampa Bay Buccaneers promoted cornerback David Rivers from the practice squad to the active roster on Wednesday, completing a pair of moves that seems to indicate where the team currently needs added depth in the secondary. The Buccaneers also made one move on offense, signing rookie tight end Donnie Ernsberger to the practice squad, where a spot had been created by Rivers' promotion.
On Monday, the Buccaneers waived rookie safety Godwin Igwebuike, who had spent the previous two weeks on the active roster after his own promotion from the practice squad. Rivers assumes the active roster spot vacated by that move; Godwin was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco 49ers.
Though he played only on special teams, Igwebuike's time on the active roster coincided with two games missed by starting safety Justin Evans due to a toe injury. Rivers' promotion, in turn, comes after starting cornerback Carlton Davis left Sunday's win over San Francisco with a knee injury. The team has already been playing without cornerback M.J. Stewart – like Davis, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft – for the past four games due to a foot injury.
Originally an undrafted free agent signed by the Green Bay Packers out of Youngstown State, Rivers spent nine weeks on the Buccaneers' practice squad as a rookie last year. He was on the Miami Dolphins' practice squad in December when the Buccaneers called to sign him off that unit and onto their active roster for the last two weeks of the season. Rivers got into one of those two games, appearing on special teams.
At Youngstown State, the 6-0, 185-pound Rivers played in 40 games and recorded 65 tackles, three interceptions, 14 passes defensed and one sack. He hails from Hialeah, Florida.
Ernsberger, a former grayshirt-turned-standout at Western Michigan, originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers in May. Ernsberger went to training camp in Tampa but did not get into a preseason game due to a calf injury and was waived with an injury settlement in mid-August. Due to that settlement, he first became eligible to return to the Buccaneers in Week Six. The Bucs have another rookie tight end on the practice squad in Tanner Hudson but their overall depth at that position was reduced last week by the move of starter O.J. Howard to injured reserve.
At Western Michigan, the 6-2, 237-pound Ernsberger played in 51 games with 39 starts and recorded 45 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns.