The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Darden had first been placed on that list on December 23 and he missed the Buccaneers' last two games against the Panthers and Jets.
Darden's activation pares Tampa Bay's COVID list down to just one player, punter Bradley Pinion, as of Tuesday afternoon. Seven players were on the Bucs' COVID list at some point last week but Breshad Perriman, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Mike Evans, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting have all since been activated. Only punter Bradley Pinion, who was added last Friday, remains on the list.
A fourth-round draft pick out of North Texas, Darden has served as the Bucs' punt and kickoff return man for the bulk of the 2021 season. He has 7.7 yards on 18 punt returns and 18.9 yards on 15 kickoff returns. He has also logged 81 snaps on offense and has caught six passes for 43 yards. He also has one 11-yard rush.
Veteran running back Kenjon Barner was elevated from the practice squad each of the past two weeks to fill in for Darden as the punt and kickoff returner. Barner could still be in the Buccaneers' plans this week, however, as the team is dealing with a fresh round of injuries at the running back position.