On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers feared that tight end O.J. Howard had suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon late in their 38-31 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. An MRI examination confirmed those fears on Monday and Howard has been placed on injured reserve, ending his 2020 season.
The Buccaneers used the resulting open spot on the 53-man roster to address their injury issues at wide receiver, signing Cyril Grayson off the practice squad. Tampa Bay did not have the option of elevating Grayson from the practice squad on game day using the NFL's new rule, having already used up both of their elevation options on the first-year wideout.
Grayson's promotion comes after the Buccaneers held practice on Monday without wide receivers Mike Evans (ankle), Chris Godwin (hamstring), Scotty Miller (hip/groin) and Justin Watson (chest), all sidelined by injuries. That practice began a very short week as the team prepares for a Wednesday flight to Chicago for Thursday night's game against the Bears.
Grayson played in the Buccaneers' Week Two win over Carolina after his practice squad elevation but did not have a catch. He also appeared in two contests late in the 2019 campaign, catching one three-yard pass. He first joined the Buccaneers on December 17 after he was signed off the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad. A former NCAA track champion, Grayson has also seen time with Seattle, Indianapolis, Houston, Chicago and New Orleans, though last year marked his first regular-season NFL action.
Before his season came to an abrupt end, Howard caught 11 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns, ranking third on the team in yards and second in TD catches. In Sunday's win over Los Angeles, he caught three passes for 50 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown.
The Buccaneers' first-round pick in 2017, Howard has run into some unfortunate luck regarding injuries. He missed 10 games over his first three seasons but still caught 94 passes for 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns. This will mark the third time that Howard has ended the season on injured reserve.