Ryan Purvis spent almost his entire first season in the NFL on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad, and it paid off at the very end. This time around, he's getting the call a little earlier.
On Monday, the Buccaneers signed Purvis, a former undrafted free agent out of Boston College, to the active roster from their practice squad. Purvis filled the roster spot opened by the release of veteran tight end Jerramy Stevens.
As a rookie, Purvis (6-4, 260) earned a spot on the Bucs' practice squad with a strong preseason showing, catching five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown in four games. He remained on that unit until the final week of the regular season, when he was activated to the 53-man roster. However, he was one of the team's eight game-day inactives for the season finale against Atlanta, and is thus still awaiting his NFL debut.
Purvis will have his shot now after being signed just seven weeks into the 2010 campaign. Along with Kellen Winslow and John Gilmore, Purvis gives the Bucs three tight ends on the roster (not counting the versatile Erik Lorig), and the team generally keeps three tight ends active on game days. This preseason, Purvis tied for the team lead with seven receptions, gaining 93 yards.
At Boston College, Purvis proved adept at both blocking and pass-catching, finishing his collegiate career with 113 receptions for 1,122 yards and six touchdowns. He appeared in 51 games with 31 starts over four seasons, and his receptions total ranks fourth in school history among tight ends.
As a junior in 2007, Purvis caught 54 passes for 553 yards and four touchdowns, earning first-team All-ACC honors and falling just short of Pete Mitchell's single-season BC record of 66 receptions by a tight end. Purvis also earned second-team all-conference accolades as a senior in 2008.
Stevens played in 50 games with 16 starts as a Buccaneer after originally signing with the team in April of 2007. He caught 72 passes for 759 yards and seven touchdowns in that span. Stevens played in five games with one start in 2010 and recorded three catches for 43 yards.