A practice-field mishap just hours before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were set to take off for London prompted a roster move to patch a beleaguered offensive line.
The Buccaneers promoted rookie center Nate Trewyn from the practice squad on Friday in response to a foot/ankle injury sustained by fellow rookie lineman Zack Bailey in the team's last practice stateside before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in London. A spot on the 53-man roster was opened when the Bucs placed Bailey on injured reserve.
Tampa Bay needed the additional blocker because their offensive line was already thinned by the hamstring and forearm injuries suffered, respectively, by right tackle Demar Dotson and right guard Alex Cappa in Week Five. Neither Dotson nor Cappa is traveling with the team to London, which means Josh Wells will start at right tackle and Earl Watford will start at right guard. That left Bailey and tackle Jerald Hawkins as the two reserves who would have been active on Sunday. It would have been Bailey's first time being active for an NFL game.
Instead, it will be Trewyn providing the depth behind interior-line starters Watford, Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet. Like Bailey, Trewyn originally joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent this past spring after he played his college ball at Wisconsin-Whitewater. He was on the practice squad for the first five weeks of the season.
Trewyn (6-4, 315) played in all four preseason games for the Buccaneers in August. At Wisconsin-Whitewater he played in 35 games over three seasons and helped the Warhawks' offense average 39.2 points, 453.8 total yards and 240.5 rushing yards last season. As a senior he won the Rimington Award, given to the top center in Division III. He was also an Associated Press first-team Division III All American.
The Buccaneers did not have to make any hasty additions to their flight manifest on Thursday, as the team was already bringing its practice squad players with it to London. That's primarily because the team will hold a practice in London on Friday and the practice squad helps fill out various positions and form scout teams. Having those 10 players on hand also allows for a quick roster change if any unexpected illnesses or injuries were to arise between Friday and Sunday. In this case, of course, that unexpected injury happened just before the team left.