WR Paris Warren first joined the team as a seventh-round draft pick in 2005
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reduced their roster from 80 men to 75 on Tuesday afternoon, with a series of moves mostly centering around injured players.
One spot was cleared when fourth-year running back Cadillac Williams was placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Three other players — linebacker Antoine Cash, cornerback Sammy Davis and safety Donte Nicholson were waived/injured. Fourth-year wide receiver Paris Warren was waived to complete the cuts.
The NFL-wide roster reduction on Tuesday was the "easier" of the two cuts necessary before the start of the regular season. On Saturday, teams will trim 22 more spots to get to 53. Still, even the first bit of trimming from the depth chart wasn't really "easy."
"It is hard, there's no question about it," said Head Coach Jon Gruden. "You have a lot of respect for the work that they've put forth, but you have to do what you think is right for the football team and you have to reduce the roster to 53. We feel good about the fact that we've been fair and given everybody just about a chance to really go out and showcase their stuff. At the end of the day hopefully everybody respects that."
The move of Williams to the Reserve/PUP list wasn't a surprise. The Bucs put their electric tailback on the Active/PUP list at the beginning of training camp specifically to keep the Reserve/PUP option on the table. In a way, the decision can be seen as good news. If the Bucs believed Williams was unlikely to make it back from his 2007 knee injury this fall, they would have placed him on injured reserve, from which he couldn't return in 2008. The PUP list will give the 2005 NFL Rookie of the Year six more weeks to rehabilitate his knee, after which the Bucs will have the option to move him back to the active roster.
Cash (neck), Davis (hip) and Nicholson (knee) were all injured during the preseason. As a vested veteran, Davis goes directly to the Buccaneers' injured reserve list. Cash and Nicholson would revert to the same list if they clear waivers.
Warren's release comes almost a year after he was derailed by a bit of particularly bad luck. A 2005 seventh-round pick, Warren had his best preseason last summer, leading the team with 15 receptions and four touchdowns through four games. However, as he scored the last of those four touchdowns, a fourth-quarter game-winner against the Houston Texans, he was tackled from behind and forced to land awkwardly. The result was a season-ending leg fracture that robbed him of what appeared to be a likely spot on the 53-man roster.
"Sometimes timing is everything," said Gruden. "He's still a good football player no matter what anybody says. He's a good football player, he's an NFL player I believe and hopefully it all works out for him this year."
The first cutdown date meant some added work for Tampa Bay's personnel department. In addition to trimming their own roster, the Bucs spent the late afternoon combing over the list of cuts from around the league.
"Our scouts are looking at everybody else's rosters just like we're looking at our own," said Gruden. "There are going to be players that are released that we might think could help us, and we won't hesitate to bring those guys in. That's all part of this process. Everybody's got tough calls to make and some teams are a little deeper at other positions maybe than we even are. So we'll take a look at that and we'll get all the information and do what we think is best for us."