Wide receiver Justin Watson has returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a three-day absence, this time signing with the team's practice squad. The Buccaneers also released punter Sterling Hofrichter and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson from that 16-man crew. That combination of moves on Tuesday leaves one practice squad spot open.
Originally a fifth-round pick out of Penn in 2018, Watson played in 39 games with four starts over his first three Buccaneer seasons but was limited to one game during the 2021 regular season due to a knee injury. Watson had surgery on the knee in July and started the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He remained on that list for most of the season before being activated and playing on special teams in the Bucs' Week 16 win at Carolina.
Watson was one of the most active special teams players on the Buccaneers' 2020 Super Bowl roster, tying for the team lead with five kick-coverage tackles, postseason included. He also collected what was technically deemed a sack when he tackled Carolina punter Joseph Charlton on a fake punt attempt in a Week 10 game in 2020. In the process, Watson became the first offensive player in franchise history to record a sack.
As a receiver, Watson caught seven passes for 94 yards in 2020. He set career highs in 2019 with 15 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns as he stepped into a larger late-season role after injuries to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Hofrichter spent five weeks on the Bucs' practice squad, including the Wild Card playoff week, and was twice elevated on game day to fill in for punter Bradley Pinion, who was dealing with a right hip injury. Hofrichter averaged 37.8 gross yards per punt, with a net average of 33.7.
Wreh-Wilson was on Tampa Bay's practice squad from Week Seven through the Wild Card round. He played in one game after being elevated from the practice squad.