Freddie Martino has started each of the past two seasons on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad before eventually being promoted to the active roster. It took a little longer for Martino to get the call this year, but his services were suddenly needed with the one-game suspension that the NFL handed down to Mike Evans on Monday.
Martino was added to the 53-man roster on Wednesday, and the Buccaneers quickly filled the new opening on the practice squad by signing rookie defensive end Patrick Gamble.
The Buccaneers have kept five receivers active for each of their first eight game this season, and they will have the option to do so again with Martino taking Evans' spot. Rookie wide receiver Chris Godwin is likely to see the biggest jump in playing time with Evans out, but Martino is versatile enough to play all three receiver positions and is very familiar with the Buccaneers' offensive scheme.
The 6-0, 195-pound Martino got his promotion in September last year and appeared in 13 of the Bucs' last 14 games. He contributed eight catches for 142 yards and one touchdown, that one a 43-yard touchdown against the Chicago Bears that ranked as the team's second-longest completion of 2016.
Prior to joining the Buccaneers in May of 2016, Martino had originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent in Atlanta, where he learned the offense of then-Falcons Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter. He spent most of his rookie season on the Falcons' practice squad and most of 2015 on the same crew for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gamble, who played his college ball at Georgia Tech, first signed with the Jets this past spring. He played in all four New York preseason games, recording three tackles, 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.