Deven Thompkins is out of practice squad elevation options but he's not out of a job. In fact, he just got a promotion.
On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Thompkins to the active roster from their practice squad. To make room on the 53-man roster, the Buccaneers placed outside linebacker Genard Avery on injured reserve.
Thompkins took over Tampa Bay's punt and kickoff return jobs two games ago after the release of Jaelon Darden. To make him available on those two game days, the Buccaneers elevated him from the practice squad. Any individual player can only be elevated three times during the regular season, and Thompkins had also been moved up for the Atlanta game in Week Five.
In the last two games, Thompkins has returned eight kickoffs for 171 yards and four punts for 35 yards. Against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14 he recorded a 54-yard kickoff return that was the longest by a Buccaneer in more than 10 years. He was also utilized on 13 offensive snaps last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, running once for nine yards and catching one pass for seven yards.
Thompkins originally joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Utah State in May.
Avery sustained abdomen and oblique injuries in the Week 14 game at San Francisco and was inactive for last Sunday's contest. Prior to that, he played in nine games and contributed four tackles, one sack and five quarterback hits. He also made a stop on special teams. He signed with the Buccaneers in late August and began the season on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster in Week Six. Originally a fifth-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2018, Avery has played in 62 games with 17 starts for the Browns, Eagles and Buccaneers and has 106 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 29 quarterback hits and five passes defensed in his career.
After being placed on injured reserve, Avery must miss at least four games before he is eligible to return to the active roster. That means he could only see more action this season if the Buccaneers qualify for the playoffs and advance to the Divisional Round.