FB Byron Storer had emerged as one of the Bucs' best special teams players before his injury last October
Byron Storer will miss the 2009 season after being placed on injured reserve by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.
The third-year fullback, who was in the process this spring of returning from a season-ending knee injury in 2008, suffered what was termed a "major setback" on the practice field last Tuesday. Storer reinjured the same knee he hurt in the sixth game of last season during one of the Buccaneers' organized team activity days (OTAs).
A player who lands on IR no longer counts against his team's 80-man offseason roster limit. However, he is ineligible to return to the active roster at any time during that league year. Thus Storer, a former undrafted free agent whose career was rising steadily before his mishap last October, will have to wait until 2010 to resume that upward path.
Storer first signed with the Buccaneers as a rookie free agent after the 2007 draft. He impressed in his first NFL training camp, earning a spot on Tampa Bay's practice squad to begin the '07 season. He was promoted to the 53-man roster on October 24 and went on to appear in all nine remaining games that season, starting three. Though he caught two passes and showed promise as a lead blocker, Storer made his most significant impact on special teams, where he had also shined as a collegian at California. After recording nine kick-coverage stops in as many games during the regular season, he capped his year with three special teams stops against the New York Giants in a Wild Card playoff game.
An injury to B.J. Askew thrust Storer back into the starting lineup early in the 2008 campaign, and the young fullback started three of the six games in which he appeared before hurting his knee against Carolina on October 12. Storer had seven kick-coverage tackles in that span and was quickly becoming one of the Buccaneers' most effective special teams players.
At Cal, Storer was a three-time all-conference selection as a special teams player. He took over the starting fullback job as a senior in 2006 and recorded eight carries for 16 yards and eight receptions for 61 yards.
The Buccaneers currently have 85 players on their offseason roster and, now, room for one more. The six 2009 draft picks do not count against the 80-man limit until they have signed their initial contracts with the team. They can participate in offseason workouts but cannot report to training camp until they have signed.