As it turns out, the elbow injury that second-year inside linebacker Jack Cichy sustained in Los Angeles in Week Four will end his season early after all. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed Cichy on injured reserve on Sunday and used the resulting roster spot to promote tight end Jordan Leggett from the practice squad.
Leggett's promotion in turn created an opening on the 10-man practice squad, which was filled by first-year tight end Codey McElroy.
Cichy sustained his injury on the final kickoff of the September 29 game against the Rams, after the Buccaneers had essentially clinched their 55-40 victory. This marks the second time in as many seasons that Cichy, a sixth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2018, has landed on injured reserve before the season's midpoint. Last year, an ACL tear in the Bucs' sixth game ended his season prematurely. The hard-luck Cichy also overcame a pair of knee injuries in college that wiped out much of his last two seasons with the Badgers.
Cichy was primarily playing on special teams before his injury, though he had logged one tackle on defense. As a rookie, he contributed three kick-coverage stops and one tackle on defense. After he was hurt in Los Angeles, the Buccaneers signed rookie inside linebacker Noah Dawkins for depth at the position and on special teams. Dawkins made his NFL debut last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
The promotion of Leggett gives the Buccaneers five tight ends on the 53-man roster and is an indication that there are question marks at the position due to injuries. Starter O.J. Howard missed the Tennessee game due to a hamstring injury and tight end Cam Brate missed some time in the second half of that contest with unspecified injuries. The Buccaneers also have Antony Auclair, primarily a blocking tight end, and first-year man Tanner Hudson, who had a strong preseason.
Leggett (6-5, 258) first came to Tampa as a waiver claim from the New York Jets in May. He went to training camp with the team and played in all four preseason games with one start, contributing three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. A fifth-round pick out of Clemson by the Jets in 2017, Leggett played in 15 games and started four last season in New York after spending his rookie season on injured reserve. He had 14 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in 2018.
McElroy (6-6, 244) played his college ball at Oklahoma State and signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He went to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys this year but was waived with an injury settlement in the final roster cuts. McElroy came to football late, with one season at Southeastern Oklahoma State as his only organized experience in the sport. That came after a baseball career that took him through the University of Texas and into the Atlanta Braves organization as a 19th-round draft pick. After two years in the minor leagues, McElroy retired from baseball and took up basketball at Oklahoma State before finally turning to football in 2017. He caught 14 passes for 173 yards and five touchdowns in his one season with the SOSU Savage Storm.