Rookie tackle Brian Gruber (72) was not eligible to re-sign with the Buccaneers until earlier this week
On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued a near-weekly string of practice squad moves, signing rookie tackle Brian Gruber to that unit and releasing linebacker Eugene McCaslin.
Most of the Bucs' practice-squad moves through October and November were motivated by injuries on the active roster. McCaslin, for instance, may have been signed to that five-man squad on November 14 because linebackers Nate Webster, Jeff Gooch and Alshermond Singleton were dealing with minor ailments at the time.
The timing of Gruber's return, however, probably has more to do with NFL player-acquisition rules. Because the rookie was released with an injury settlement near the end of the preseason, he was not eligible to re-sign with the Buccaneers until November 20. He could have signed with any other team in the interim.
Gruber originally signed with the Bucs as a college free agent out of Vanderbilt. During the preseason, he suffered a right knee sprain.
By returning to the Bucs, Gruber finds himself in a little pocket of Vanderbilt alumni in the Tampa Bay locker room. Four players on the active roster – linebackers Jamie Duncan and Shelton Quarles, safety Eric Vance and tight end Todd Yoder – also played at that Tennessee school.
At Vanderbilt, Gruber was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2000. He played in every game in his college career (44 games), including starts in each of his last 33 contests.
McCaslin, originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick (249th overall) by the Green Bay Packers in 2000. He appeared on the Packers' active roster briefly at the end of his rookie season.