The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to tweak their receiving corps again this week. They had no choice but to do the same at defensive end.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of sixth-year defensive end Jeff Charleston. He takes the roster spot vacated by the move of defensive end Adrian Clayborn to injured reserve.
Obviously, it was the season-ending knee injury suffered by Clayborn on Sunday in Dallas that prompted the Bucs to seek help at the position. Clayborn had started all 19 games at right end for the Buccaneers since being drafted in the first round in 2011. That left the team with just three ends on the 53-man roster in Michael Bennett, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and George Johnson, and one of those latter two will likely step up into the starting lineup.
The Buccaneers are familiar with Charleston from his four seasons (2008-11) with the New Orleans Saints. During that time he played in 52 games with one start and contributed eight sacks and two forced fumbles. In the 2010 regular-season finale at the Superdome, Charleston sacked Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman shortly before halftime, forcing and recovering a fumble in the process, though the Bucs went on to win the game, 23-13.
Charleston (6-4, 260) first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans out of Idaho State in 2006. He didn't play in the league during that '06 season but latched on with Indianapolis in 2007 and carved out a significant role on the Colts' defense, with 13 games played three starts, 24 tackles, one sack, three passes defensed and a forced fumble. He didn't make the Colts' roster to start the 2008 season but signed with New Orleans in October and then played regularly for the next four seasons, winning a Super Bowl ring after the 2009 campaign. He joined the Minnesota Vikings as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason but was released during the NFL's final roster cuts.
Clayborn will have surgery on his injured knee within the next two weeks and begin the process of recovering in time for the 2013 season. He was the Bucs' sack leader as a rookie in 2011, with 7.5.