Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Only Two Bucs Sidelined as Camp Opens

WR Louis Murphy was placed on the active/NFI list and DT Akeem Spence landed on active/PUP to start training, but the rest of the 90-man roster is ready to go.


For the most part, the "no news is good news" maxim applies to training camp reporting day, since most of the substantial updates from such a day are of the holdout and injury variety.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reported for camp on Friday, and while they didn't quite hit that "no news" goal, they got close enough to consider it a net positive. Of course, the biggest reveal of the day was that rookie Jameis Winston has been named the starting quarterback, which will definitely be a positive if he is, as Head Coach Lovie Smith said, "ready to take the reins and go with it."

Even as it applies to the state of the roster, however, Friday's news was relatively tame: wide receiver Louis Murphy will open camp on the active/non-football injury list and defensive tackle Akeem Spence will start out on the active/physically unable to perform list. The beauty of that list is its brevity: Murphy and Spence should be the only two players not practicing on Saturday, with 88 other men fully ready to go.

Spence will be held out due to a back ailment; the fact that he was put on the PUP list and not the NFI list indicates that the condition occurred during football activities with the team. Murphy, on the other hand, was the victim of a "freak accident," according to Smith, that left him with an ankle injury. His mishap occurred away from team activities, thus leadingĀ  to the NFI designation.

The key word that both lists share is "active," which differs in key way from reserve/NFI or reserve/PUP. On the active lists, Murphy and Spence will continue to count against the 90-man camp roster, and they can return to practice as soon as they prove healthy. The active designations indicate that the team does expect both players to make it back to practice activity at some point in the coming weeks, but it also opens up the option of later placing one or both on reserve/NFI or reserve/PUP if their recovery takes longer.

Murphy spent much of last season as the team's primary third receiver behind starters Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, and surely will be in the thick of that competition again after re-signing with the Buccaneers last winter. Murphy is certainly the most experienced of the team's reserve receivers, as he is entering his seventh season in the NFL and has played in 82 games with 27 starts. Last year, in his first season with the Buccaneers, he caught 31 passes for 380 yards and two touchdowns, and he has recorded at least 25 receptions in four of his six NFL campaigns.

Spence, a fourth-round draft pick by the Buccaneers in 2013, has also played extensively in his two seasons in the league, appearing in all 32 games and making 19 starts. Spence is part of a deep and talented group of Buccaneer D-tackles that also includes Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Henry Melton. The team also shored up that spot on the depth chart earlier in the week by re-signing versatile defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers. In his two seasons, Spence has four sacks, 47 tackles and three fumble recoveries. He pitched in with three sacks last season in mostly a reserve role.

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