T James Lee has been with the Buccaneers for over a year, after arriving as a waiver claim from Cleveland just prior to the 2008 season opener
It was another busy Tuesday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' player personnel department, as five moves were made involving the active roster and the practice squad the day after the team's return from London. Much of it involved offensive line depth.
Tackle James Lee, who spent all of last season on the Buccaneers' 53-man roster, has been promoted back to that level after spending the first seven weeks of this season on the practice squad. He takes one of the two spots opened by the releases of reserve offensive linemen Marcus Johnson and Sean Mahan.
Those moves leave the Buccaneers with one opening on the active roster, which will likely be filled quickly. Tampa Bay is entering its bye week but will practice on Wednesday and Thursday and certainly would like a full complement of players for those efforts.
The Buccaneers also flipped several spots on their eight-man practice squad. Lee's promotion created one open spot, which will also likely be filled before Wednesday's practice. In addition, rookie linebacker Lee Robinson was signed to the practice squad and first-year linebacker Eric Bakhtiari was released.
Lee first joined the Buccaneers as a waiver claim from the Cleveland Browns last September, just before the start of the regular season. The 6-4, 305-pound lineman out of South Carolina State had originally entered the NFL in the spring of 2008 as an undrafted free agent with the Browns. He remained on Tampa Bay's active roster throughout the season, seeing action in one contest as a reserve. Lee was inactive for 14 of the 16 games and was active but did not play in one other.
Lee began his collegiate career at Georgia but transferred to South Carolina State and promptly started 31 of 33 games for the Bulldogs over three seasons. He played two years at left guard before taking over at right tackle as a senior. In his final Bulldog campaign, Lee earned honorable mention FCS All-America accolades. He hails from Belle Glade, Florida in Palm Beach County.
The Buccaneers signed Johnson on September 2, shortly after the veteran lineman had been released by the Oakland Raiders. Originally a second-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 and an 18-game starter during his stint in Minnesota, Johnson provided depth at several spots on the line but but did not register any starts for the Buccaneers. He did see reserve action in six of the first seven games.
Mahan rejoined the Buccaneers in 2008 through a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, for whom he played the 2007 season. He had spent his first four seasons in Tampa after being drafted by the Buccaneers in the fifth round in 2003. Mahan saw action in 15 games as a reserve in 2008 but was released by Tampa Bay prior to the start of the 2009 regular season. When starting center Jeff Faine suffered a triceps tear in the season opener against Dallas, the Buccaneers re-signed Mahan and put him in the starting lineup for the next four contests. Faine returned to action against Carolina in Week Six.
Robinson entered the NFL this past spring with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Alcorn State. He was waived in the final roster cut-down but signed by the Arizona Cardinals to their practice squad, where he spent the first seven weeks of the season.
A first-team all-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection as a senior, Robinson posted 111 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions for Alcorn State last fall. He finished his Braves career with 334 tackles, 18.5 sacks, three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He played his high school ball in Liberty, Mississippi.
Bakhtiari spent two weeks on the Buccaneers' practice squad after being signed on October 14. A former defensive end star at the University of San Diego, where he was a teammate of Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Johnson, Bakhtiari split his 2008 rookie season between the practice squads in San Diego and San Francisco.