The Tampa Bay Buccaneers elevated wide receiver Cyril Grayson and tight end Deon Yelder from the practice squad on Saturday, making both of them eligible to play against the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon. Those moves came a day after the team ruled wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight end Rob Gronkowski out for the Chicago game due to ankle and ribs injuries, respectively.
Gronkowski will miss his fourth straight contest and in each case the Buccaneers have used one of their two elevation options on a tight end. Codey McElroy got the call against New England and Miami and now Yelder will be up for the second week in a row after playing against Philadelphia in Week Six. Yelder was also active for the Week Three game against the Rams after being elevated to replace a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The practice squad elevation option was first introduced in 2020 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. It came prior to a number of other rule changes that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon in the summer of 2020 to provide teams with more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The new rule was something of a compromise, as it did not expand the active rosters beyond 53 players but did give teams a few more options on game days. Teams can only use standard elevations on any specific player twice in a season, though they can be elevated additional times as a COVID replacement.
Grayson has been elevated for the first time this season. When Brown was out in Week Three due to COVID-19, the Buccaneers had Scotty Miller available to take some of his snaps as an outside receiver, but Miller suffered a turf toe injury in that game and has since been placed on injured reserve. Second-year man Tyler Johnson is likely to see the bulk of action in Brown's place but Grayson gives the team another speed option on the outside if he is active for the game.
After the game, Grayson and Yelder will automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.