Rookie S Sabby Piscitelli was already making his mark on special teams
Sabby Piscitelli's promising rookie season is over after three games.
Piscitelli, the 64th player chosen in the 2007 draft, suffered a fractured left foot against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday and has been placed on injured reserve. As such, he is not eligible to play again this season.
Piscitelli's unfortunate move to IR opened up a spot on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster. The team filled that spot by promoting wide receiver Chad Lucas from the practice squad. The Bucs then used that subsequent opening on the eight-man practice squad to sign tackle Jason Capizzi, who was most recently with the New York Jets.
The Bucs also made one additional switch on their practice squad, re-signing wide receiver Micheal Spurlock and waiving guard/center Enoka Lucas. That is the exact reverse of the move the team made a week ago.
Piscitelli sustained his foot injury on the opening kickoff of Tampa Bay's 24-3 win over St. Louis at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. He subsequently had surgery on the foot and is now wearing a cast that covers most of his lower leg.
Before his injury, Piscitelli was emerging as a strong special teams performer for the Buccaneers. He had a kick-coverage tackle in each of Tampa Bay's first two games and was helping the team rank first in the NFL in average opponent kickoff drive start.
While Piscitelli's bit of misfortune robs him of most of his debut season, it does nothing to dim his long-term prospects with the team. In training camp, the Buccaneers were impressed with the rookie's speed, toughness and playmaking ability, leading them to believe Piscitelli will eventually make a significant impact on defense.
The former Oregon State star was the second player drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round of the draft, with a pick obtained from Indianapolis in the 2006 Anthony McFarland trade. Piscitelli was one of seven defensive players selected among the Buccaneers' 10 picks, six of whom made it to the team's 53-man roster.
At OSU, Piscitelli played in 48 games with 36 starts and recorded 178 tackles, 15 interceptions, 29 passes defensed and one sack. As a senior, he was a team captain and a first-team all-conference selection after an 80-tackle, five-interception campaign.
The 6-1, 201-pound Lucas is another player who impressed in training camp, particularly in regard to his blazing speed. A former Alabama State standout, he first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2004. After a stint in the Arena League, Lucas logged time on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad in 2005 before being promoted to the active roster for two games. Lucas joined Tampa Bay's practice squad in October of 2006 and was then re-signed after the season. With the Bucs this preseason, he caught two passes for 12 yards.
The 6-9, 315-pound Capizzi came into the league this spring as an undrafted free agent with Pittsburgh. He went to camp with the Steelers but was eventually released on September 1. The Jets then signed Capizzi to their practice squad on September 12 but waived him again on September 17.
A Gibsonia, Pennsylvania native, Capizzi played his college ball at Indiana University (PA) after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh. At IUP, he developed into one of the nation's best Division II blockers, earning DII All-America first-team honors as a senior in 2006. Capizzi started 30 games at left tackle in three seasons and, as a senior, helped the IUP line allow only nine quarterback sacks.
Spurlock (5-11, 200) entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals in 2006 after playing quarterback and running back at Mississippi. He landed on Arizona's practice squad at the beginning of his rookie season and stayed there until the final week, when he was signed to the active roster. In his NFL debut against San Diego, he tied for the team lead with four receptions for 31 yards. The Buccaneers originally signed Spurlock to their practice squad on September 4.