The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed two players to their 90-man training camp roster on Wednesday, including defensive lineman Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, who was with the team through much of its offseason program. Both Tu'ikolovatu and the other addition, rookie safety John Battle, address positions on the Bucs' defense that have recently been thinned by injuries.
To make room for Tu'ikolovatu and Battle on the roster, the Buccaneers waived rookie quarterback Vincent Testaverde and second-year offensive lineman Mike Liedtke. Liedtke was waived with an injury designation.
The Buccaneers originally drafted Tu'ikolovatu out of USC in the seventh round in 2017. He remained with the team for more than two years before he was waived at the end of this past May, but he has yet to appear in a regular-season game. Instead he spent each of his first two seasons on injured reserve due to successive knee and elbow injuries. Tu'ikolovatu has played in four preseason games over the past two summers. His addition comes a day after second-year defensive lineman Vita Vea left practice early with an apparent leg injury.
Battle, who played his college ball at LSU, originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the New York Jets in May. He was waived in the middle of June. A teammate of Buccaneers first-round draft pick Devin White at LSU, Battle was a three-year starter for the Tigers, playing in 47 career games with 28 starts. Battle had a career-best three interceptions last season and finished with career marks of 144 tackles, five interceptions, 11 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He hails from Hallandale Beach, Florida.
A recent run of minor injuries has hit Tampa Bay's defensive backfield. Among the players sitting out practice at times this week have been rookie safeties Mike Edwards and D'Cota Dixon and rookie cornerback Jamel Dean. In addition, incumbent starting safety Justin Evans has still not been activated from the PUP list to begin practicing.
Liedtke has been with the Buccaneers since originally joining the practice squad late in the 2016 season. He got into one game in 2017 and then carved out a more prominent role as a reserve last season, seeing action in nine games after making the opening-day roster. Testaverde, the son of former Buccaneers quarterback Vinny Testaverde, signed with the team on August 29, during the first week of training camp.