Channing Ward, an undrafted defensive end from Ole Miss, beat the odds to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' opening-day roster as a rookie. Ward will finish the season as part of that group, as well.
On Thursday, the Buccaneers promoted Ward from their practice squad to the 53-man roster, filling the spot created by Doug Martin's suspension. Ward has spent the last six weeks on the practice squad after being on the active roster for the first nine games of the season. Tampa Bay subsequently used the vacated spot on the practice squad to re-sign offensive tackle Kyler Kerbyson, who had just been released on Wednesday.
The 6-4, 279-pound Ward appeared in five games during his first stint on the active roster and contributed five tackles. A versatile lineman who can play end or tackle, he has primarily worked inside for the Buccaneers. Coincidentally, he made his one start and saw his most significant playing time in Week Five against the Carolina Panthers, who are also the Buccaneers' opponent this Sunday. With Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald all inactive for that first Panthers matchup, Ward started at defensive tackle and made two tackles to help Tampa Bay earn a 17-14 win on Monday Night Football.
Kerbyson (6-4, 318) joined the Bucs' practice squad in Week 10. The former University of Tennessee starter entered the NFL as a college free agent with the New England Patriots this past offseason before being waived on August 15. Kerbyson first came to the Buccaneers on August 22, in time to play in the team's final two preseason games.