With injuries the main motivating factor, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster has undergone a series of changes in the last two weeks of the 2016 season. The latest round of moves on Wednesday included the promotion of fullback Austin Johnson from the practice squad after running back Charles Sims was placed on injured reserve.
The Buccaneers also put tight end Cameron Brate on injured reserve on Tuesday and brought back rookie running back Russell Hansbrough. Cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah and wide receiver Donteea Dye have also recently landed on the I.R. list.
Tampa Bay also tweaked its 10-man practice squad on Wednesday, signing running back Blake Sims and defensive end Deonte Gibson. In addition to the spot created by Johnson's promotion, the team released offensive lineman Kyler Kerbyson.
Sims has the rare distinction of being placed on I.R. twice in the same season. He first landed on that list on October 10 due to a knee injury, but the Buccaneers subsequently used their one "designated for return" tag on him and he returned to action in Week 14 against New Orleans. Overall, Sims played in seven games with two starts this season, rushing 51 times for 149 yards and one touchdown. A gifted pass-catcher, the third-year back also caught 24 passes for 190 yards and another score.
Johnson (6-2, 240) was first joined Tampa Bay's practice squad on December 14; he also spent the first two weeks of the season on the New Orleans Saints' practice squad. He had been with the Saints since 2013 and saw time on the active roster during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Overall, Johnson has played in 17 regular-season games with two starts. While primarily a lead blocker, he has run 12 times for 31 yards and a touchdown and caught seven passes for 45 yards and a score.
Gibson (6-2, 260) is a rookie defensive end out of Northwestern who signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in May. He went to camp with the Lions but was released prior to the start of the regular season. At Northwestern, he led the Wildcats with nine sacks as a senior in 2015.
Sims (5-11, 218) played three seasons as a running back at Alabama before winning the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback job in 2014. In 14 starts, he threw for a school-record 3,487 yards, along with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and also ran for 350 yards and seven scores. His career rushing totals at Alabama included 705 yards and nine touchdowns on 145 carries (4.9 avg.). After going undrafted in 2015, Sims had tryouts in Green Bay and Washington but ended up in the Canadian Football League to begin his pro career. After a stint in Australia in the National Gridiron League, Sims came back to the states to spend two weeks on the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad this September.