The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated second-year linebacker J.J. Russell and fifth-year defensive lineman Deadrin Senat from the practice squad on Monday afternoon, making both players eligible to play later in the evening against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The NFL introduced the practice squad elevation option in 2020, which allows teams to activate up to two practice squad players for each game. By utilizing both options in Week Three, the Buccaneers have increased their game day roster to 55 players for their matchup with the Eagles. They will be able to keep 48 of those player active for the game, naming seven inactives prior to kickoff. While elevations and other roster moves must be made by Saturday for Sunday games, teams can make those moves on the day of the game for Monday and Thursday night contests, with the deadline being 4:00 p.m. ET.
Each player on the practice squad can be elevated up to three times during the regular season and an unlimited amount of times in the postseason. After the game, elevated players automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers. This is Russell's second elevation of the season and Senat's first.
Russell's elevation was expected as rookie linebacker SirVocea Dennis is set to miss a second straight game due to a hamstring strain. As was the case in Week Two, Russell gives the Bucs their usual complement of four off-ball linebackers for game day and will likely play extensively on special teams. Senat's elevation could be an indication that the Buccaneers remain uncertain about the availability of defensive lineman Vita Vea, who was listed as questionable on Saturday's injury report due to a pectoral injury.
Russell played 20 snaps on special teams in the Bucs' Week Two win over the Chicago Bears. An undrafted free agent out of Memphis in 2022, he has appeared in seven total games for the Buccaneers, logging 45 snaps and four tackles on defense.
Senat just returned to the Bucs on Wednesday, signing to the practice squad after spending most of last season on the practice squad. A third-round draft pick out of USF in 2018, he spent four years in Atlanta before signing with the Buccaneers in 2022. His career statistics include 51 tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and six quarterback hits.
The practice squad elevation option was introduced as part of the new collective bargaining agreement in 2020. The new rule was something of a compromise, as it did not expand the active rosters beyond 53 players but did give teams a few more options on game days.