Rookie Shane Grice was the only backup to C Jeff Christy after Todd Washington hurt his knee Thursday
On a typical Sunday afternoon, center/guard Todd Washington plays about 10 special teams snaps, maybe a couple series on offense if another player is hurt or in need of a rest.
Washington's role for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not be big on any specific game day, but when he's unavailable, his absence suddenly looms very large.
Washington helps the Buccaneers maximize their 45 active spots for the game by being the lone backup to both offensive guard spots as well as center. However, he suffered a knee injury during practice on Thursday and is in jeopardy of missing Sunday's game against New Orleans.
That situation potentially left the Bucs with no substitute center and only rookie Russ Hochstein, who has yet to play a regular-season snap, as help at guard. To avoid going into Sunday's game in that precarious position, Tampa Bay made a roster move on Saturday.
Back onto the active roster, where he spent six weeks in the middle of the season, is rookie Shane Grice who, like Washington, is capable of playing both guard and center. After Washington suffered his knee sprain on Thursday, Grice handled center duties for the second team the rest of the week.
To make room on the 53-man roster for Grice, the team released rookie linebacker Marq Cerqua, who made the team in September as an undrafted free agent out of Carson-Newman. Cerqua appeared in three mid-season games on special teams but was inactive for the other 10.
Grice also joined the Bucs as an undrafted rookie in April, out of Mississippi. He was released on August 27 and claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears, who later moved him from the active roster to the practice squad. The Bucs plucked him off that unit on September 26 to add to their own 53-man unit, after which he was inactive for the next six games. Grice was then waived to make room for the addition of cornerback Corey Ivy to the active roster, and then quickly added to Tampa Bay's practice squad.
In effect, the move allows the Bucs to delay their decision on Washington until Sunday morning. If the valuable veteran is able to play, he would fill his normal role and Grice would likely be inactive. If Washington's knee does not come around in time, Grice would take over Washington's three-in-one duty.
The Bucs play the New Orleans Saints Sunday, with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.