After an injury-plagued game in Arizona on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have promoted first-year wide receiver Freddie Martino from the practice squad to the active roster. Linebacker Josh Keyes was waived to make room for Martino on the 53-man squad, and second-year defensive end Ryan Russell took Martino's spot on the 10-man practice squad.
The Buccaneers lost running back Doug Martin, defensive end Robert Ayers, tight end Luke Stocker and wide receiver Cecil Shorts to injuries at various points in Sunday's game, and it's the receiver position that needed immediate reinforcements. The Buccaneers had three other tight ends in action in the game and had both a defensive end (Channing Ward) and a running back (Peyton Barber) who were healthy scratches in Week Two. However, any absence by Shorts would have left the team with only four active wide receivers before Martino's promotion.
Martino (6-0, 195) signed with the Buccaneers in May. He had originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014, joining a team that had Mike Smith as head coach and Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator. After a late-season promotion from the practice squad in his rookie season, Martino got into one game for the Falcons but did not record a reception. He spent all of last season on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad. Martino played in all four of the Bucs' preseason games in August, tying for the team lead with eight receptions.
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Keyes, who was on the Buccaneers' active roster for the last seven weeks in 2015, started this year on the practice squad but was promoted prior to the season opener to provide depth to a banged-up linebacking corps. He played in the first two games of 2016, solely on special teams.
Russell was a fifth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, selected with the 163rd overall pick out of Purdue. He made the Cowboys' roster as a rookie but was deactivated for all but one game before landing on injured reserve with an abdomen injury in December. Russell returned for a second training camp in Dallas this summer but was waived in the league-wide cutdown to 53-man rosters and then briefly added to the Cowboys' practice squad.