The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed linebacker Riley Bullough, bringing in a player with experience in their system at a time when the middle of the defense has been thinned by injuries.
During his day-after-game press conference on Monday, Head Coach Dirk Koetter confirmed that linebackers Kwon Alexander and Jack Cichy were out for the season after each suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's win over Cleveland. The Buccaneers made that official later in the afternoon, placing Alexander and Cichy on injured reserve. The signing of Bullough fills one of the two roster spots created by those moves; the other will likely be taken care of before the start of practice on Wednesday.
Bullough's return also pushes the Buccaneers' linebacking corps back to five players, the number the team had been carrying through the first six weeks of the season. Last week, the team re-signed Devante Bond to briefly give the team six linebackers.
Both Bullough and Bond were with the team last season and throughout this year's training camp. Both suffered late foot injuries shortly before the end of the preseason, however, and were waived with injury settlements. That meant that neither was eligible to re-sign with the Buccaneers until last week, but it didn't take long for both to return.
Bullough, who originally joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State in 2017, had a strong preseason, playing in three games and contributing 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed. As a rookie, he spent most of the season on the Buccaneers' practice squad before a December promotion that allowed him to see action in the final three games. He recorded one tackle each on defense and special teams in that span.
It is not yet clear how the Buccaneers will arrange the lineup in Alexander's absence. When the veteran linebacker left the game on Sunday, Adarius Taylor moved over from strongside linebacker to the middle to replace Alexander and Cichy came on to play the strong side. The Buccaneers have Taylor and Lavonte David to fill two of the three positions and now have a number of potential lineup options with Bullough, Bond and Cameron Lynch.