The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have activated inside linebacker Devin White and defensive lineman Steve McLendon from the reserve/COVID-19 list, making them available for the team's Divisional Round game in New Orleans on Sunday. The Buccaneers now have no remaining players on the COVID list.
White and McLendon were originally placed on that list, along with outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, on Friday, January 1. All three of those players missed the regular-season finale against Atlanta but Barrett was activated last week and did play in the Buccaneers' Wild Card win at Washington on Saturday.
The return of White and McLendon is very good news for a Buccaneers defense that must overcome Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas to continue their quest to reach Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. New Orleans scored 30.1 points per game during the regular season to rank fifth in the league.
White is a key player in the middle of the Buccaneers' defense; both he and fellow inside linebacker were named second-team Associated Press All-Pros last week. Despite missing the regular-season finale, White led the Buccaneers with 140 tackles and was second with 9.0 sacks during the regular season. White was the only player in the NFL with at least 100 tackles and nine sacks in 2020. He also led the Buccaneers' defense and tied for third in the NFL with 15 tackles for loss while adding 16 quarterback hits, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
McLendon's return restores some much-needed depth to the Buccaneers' interior defensive line, which also played without reserve Jeremiah Ledbetter (calf injury) in the Wild Card win. McLendon, who was acquired in an October trade with the New York Jets, spells Rakeem Nunez-Roches at the nose tackle spot and contributed 17 tackles and two tackles for loss during the regular season.
The activation of White and McLendon puts the Buccaneers back at 53 players on the active roster.