O.J. Howard returned to practice on Friday morning and now it looks like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be getting a prime contributor back on defense as well. Later on Friday the team activated fourth-year safety Jordan Whitehead from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
To make room for Whitehead on the 90-man training camp roster, the Buccaneers released rookie safety Augie Contressa.
Whitehead was on the sideline for Friday's practice and Head Coach Bruce Arians expected to see him back on the active list as soon as he passed through the league's COVID protocols. The Buccaneers had first placed Whitehead on the reserve list on July 23, two days before the team's first training camp practice.
Whitehead did not take part in any offseason workouts after undergoing shoulder surgery following the team's victory in Super Bowl LV. He sustained the injury in the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay but was able to play through it in the Super Bowl. As such, Whitehead started all 20 games for the Buccaneers in 2020, including the playoffs.
Whitehead finished the 2020 regular season as the team's fourth-leading tackler, making 74 stops to go with nine tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. In the playoffs he added nine tackles, a pass defensed and two forced fumbles, including a critical forced fumble in the NFC Championship Game that led directly to a touchdown.
A fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft out of Pittsburgh, Whitehead has played in 45 games with 41 starts for the Buccaneers. He has recorded 219 tackles, 2.0 sacks, three interceptions and 17 passes defensed.
Contressa signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent on May 13. He played his college ball at Stony Brook.