The Tampa Bay Buccaneers filled three of their four empty roster spots on Wednesday morning with players who are already familiar with the playbook.
Defensive end Lawrence Sidbury was signed to the active roster, filling one of the openings created by the waivers of Orie Lemon and D.J. Swearinger on Tuesday. Sidbury was on Tampa Bay's 53-man roster in Week Nine, though he was inactive for the game against the New York Giants, and he went to training camp with the team this summer. He wasn't released until the final round of roster cuts and he was also on the Bucs' active roster at the end of the 2014 season.
The Buccaneers also had two openings on the 10-man practice squad after releasing safety Akeem Davis and linebacker Quayshawn Nealy. Those spots went to guard Josh Allen and linebacker Josh Keyes, another pair of returning players.
Sidbury (6-3, 269) first joined the Buccaneers last December after spending four seasons (2009-12) with the Atlanta Falcons. He signed with the Colts in 2013 upon becoming an unrestricted free agent but spent his only season in Indianapolis on injured reserve. Sidbury went to training camp with the Houston in 2014 but was released before the season and did not appear on an NFL roster until the Bucs signed him in Week 16. He appeared in one game for the Buccaneers, contributing one tackle. During the 2015 preseason Sidbury contributed five tackles, one quarterback pressure, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Buccaneers may need Sidbury in the rotation on Sunday in Philadelphia if injuries prevent several other Tampa Bay defensive ends from participating. Starting right end Jacquies Smith has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and defensive end George Johnson joined him on the sidelined last Sunday with a calf injury. The Buccaneers won't release their first official injury report of the week until later on Wednesday afternoon.
Allen (6-3, 315) first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers in 2014, and he has been to the last two training camps in Tampa. He spent much of his rookie year on Tampa Bay's practice squad before a promotion to the active roster in November that allowed him to see action in four games. This year, Allen was waived with an injury settlement in the first week of September.
Keyes (6-2, 223) was most recently on Kansas City's practice squad but he now returns to his original NFL team. The Bucs signed the undrafted free agent out of Boston College in May and signed him to their practice squad to start the season. He was on that unit for three weeks before being released. During the 2015 preseason, Keyes produced eight tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and three stops on special teams.