The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have activated running back Doug Martin from the reserve/suspended list, meaning he could return to game action as soon as this Thursday against the New England Patriots. Martin's activation means he counts against the 53-man roster, necessitating a complementary move. The Buccaneers made room by waiving second-year tight end Alan Cross.
Martin was eligible to return after concluding a four-game suspension from the league that began in the final weekend of the 2016 season. Originally, Martin would have been back in time for the game against the New York Giants on Sunday, but the postponement of the Buccaneers' season opener in Miami also shifted his suspension forward one more week.
Jacquizz Rodgers has handled the majority of the load in the ground game during the first three weeks of the season, with 40 of the team's 66 carries so far. He has gained 165 yards and a touchdown on those 40 carries, averaging 4.1 yards per tote. The Buccaneers' rushing attack is averaging 84.7 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry, ranking 26th and 19th in the NFL in those two categories, respectively.
Martin, a first-round draft pick by the Buccaneers in 2012, has played in 57 career games and amassed 4,227 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He also has 121 receptions for 1,007 yards and two more scores. In 2015, Martin ranked second in the NFL with 1,402 rushing yards and fourth with 1,673 yards from scrimmage, averaging a career-best 4.9 yards per carry.
Cross made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2016. He has played in 17 games for Tampa Bay, including all three so far this season, and registered eight receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown. Cross also frequently saw action as a lead blocker in the backfield.