CB Brian Kelly played in the Bucs' Week Five game at New Orleans but has missed the last two contests
The weekly waiting game with cornerback Brian Kelly is over. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed Kelly on injured reserve Wednesday, shutting down a season that saw him play in only two of the first six games.
The Bucs used Kelly's vacated roster spot to sign Jovan Haye, a second-year defensive end who was originally drafted by Carolina in the sixth round in 2005. Tampa Bay plucked Haye off Cleveland's practice squad; players on any team's practice squad remain eligible to be signed by any other team as long as they are being added to the new team's active roster.
In fact, the Houston Texans did just that with one of Tampa Bay's practice squad players on Wednesday, too, signing offensive lineman Scott Jackson to their 53-man roster. The Bucs replaced Jackson by re-signing first-year guard Jonathan Clinkscale, and also re-signed cornerback Dion Byrum to the practice squad. The team cleared a spot on that eight-man crew by releasing wide receiver Chad Lucas.
Kelly has struggled with a turf toe injury since before the regular season, an ailment that essentially made him a question mark each week. The team's starting left cornerback since 2001, Kelly played in the season opener against Baltimore but was then forced to miss the next two contests. After the Bucs' bye week gave him additional rest, Kelly returned to action against the New Orleans Saints in Week Five but once again missed the next two games.
The 30-year-old Kelly becomes the fourth player and second starter to land on injured reserve for the Buccaneers this season, joining tackle Kenyatta Walker, long-snapper Andrew Economos and tight end T.J. Williams. Walker was the Bucs' starting right tackle through the first three games before he was placed on IR due to a knee injury. The Bucs are also without the services of quarterback Chris Simms, who had a splenectomy after the Week Three Carolina game but is currently still on the active roster.
Kelly has now finished two of the last four seasons on injured reserve. In 2003 he played in only five games before missing the rest of the season with a pectoral injury. Drafted in the second round in 1998, Kelly has played in 119 games and started 75 for the Buccaneers. His career totals include 404 tackles and 20 interceptions.
The 6-2, 295-pound Haye made Carolina's roster as a rookie but appeared in just two games last year, one of them against the Buccaneers on December 11. He went to camp with the Panthers again this summer but was released at the end of the preseason and signed by the Browns to their practice squad.
A native of Jamaica who moved to the United States when he was six, Haye grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and was an honor student at Dillard High School in Sunrise. He played his college football at Vanderbilt and entered the draft after his junior season. In 35 games for the Commodores, Haye recorded 149 tackles, 10.5 sacks and one interception. As a sophomore in 2003, he was the SEC's co-leader with 8.5 sacks.
Clinkscale (6-2, 315) was originally signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin in 2005. He spent the final three weeks of the '05 season, including the playoffs, on Tampa Bay's practice squad, then went to training camp with the team again this summer. A four-year starter at Wisconsin, he played alongside current Buccaneer Dan Buenning and was a second-team all-conference choice as a senior.
The 5-10, 192-pound Byrum entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears this year. He was a three-year starter at Ohio University, playing in 45 career games with 32 starts and recording 147 career tackles, 10 interceptions and 39 passes defensed. Byrum also has experience as a return man; for the Bobcats, he returned 57 punts for 471 yards and 58 kickoffs for 1,195 yards. He was part of the first eight-man iteration of the practice squad this year, signed before the season opener before being released last week.