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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Practice Squad Taking Shape

The Bucs bring in the first three players for their five-man practice squad – Leon Hires, Corey Ivy and Mike Roberg


CB Corey Ivy's (front) impressive play during the preseason earned him a spot on the Bucs' practice squad

In addition to two moves affecting the 53-man roster, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in players number 54, 55 and 56 on Monday.

Once the league's cut-down to 53 players is complete, each team in the National Football League is allowed to form a practice squad of up to five players. Often unofficially referred to as the 'taxi squad,' this group boosts a team's pool of practice-eligible players during the week to 58. That can aid a team in fielding full units for practice when other players on the active roster are out with injuries, though the practice squad players cannot play in games unless first signed to the active roster.

The Bucs began the formation of their 2001 practice squad on Monday evening by re-signing C Leon Hires, CB Corey Ivy and TE Mike Roberg. Hires, Ivy and Roberg were all released on Sunday when the Bucs reduced to 53 players. Once these three cleared waivers – meaning no other NFL team claimed them for their active roster – they were free to sign with any team in the league.

Obviously, Hires, Ivy and Roberg give the Buccaneers added depth on the practice field at positions which are currently thinned by injuries. Hires and Ivy also played extensively with the Buccaneers during the preseason, while Roberg was originally claimed off waivers by the Buccaneers on Tuesday after being cut by Carolina.

Even after releasing these three names, Tampa Bay's player personnel department continued to work on the formation of its practice squad into Monday evening. General Manager Rich McKay referred to the process as a work in progress.

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