The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver room is decimated; Chris Godwin tore his ACL in December, Antonio Brown was kicked off the team, and Mike Evans has been tending to a hamstring injury.
Because of this, the team signed veteran pass-catcher John Brown to their practice squad on Thursday, January 13 as insurance. To make room for Brown on the practice squad, the Buccaneers released running back Darwin Thompson.
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Thompson a Former Chiefs Draft Pick
Thompson was a sixth-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2019. He spent the last two seasons in Kansas City as well as the 2021 preseason. He accumulated 333 total yards (225 rushing, 108 receiving) during his first two seasons in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference. During three games this past preseason, Thompson rushed 15 times for 72 yards while also collecting six passes for 25 yards.
However, due to the addition of Jerick McKinnon last offseason and the rise of Derrick Gore and Darrel Williams, the Chiefs had no room for Thompson on the 2021-22 regular-season roster.
Thompson was released by Kansas City when the team shaved its roster down to 53 players at the beginning of the regular season. Although he was offered a spot on the Chiefs’ practice squad at the beginning of September, he opted to join Tampa Bay’s practice squad instead, as the Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell originally reported.
Thompson, 24, spent the entire regular season with the Buccaneers as an insurance policy for Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Giovani Bernard. However, the addition of veteran back Le’Veon Bell in December and the need for an open spot for Brown meant Thompson’s services were no longer needed on the practice squad.
Thompson-Chiefs Reunion in the Cards?
Kansas City’s backfield is limping into the team’s Wild-Card matchup against the Steelers.
Second-year back Clyde Edwards-Helaire injured his shoulder during the Chiefs’ Week 16 victory over Pittsburgh and missed the final two regular-season games because of it. Darrel Williams injured his toe in the Chiefs’ win over the Denver Broncos in the regular-season finale, which forced him to sit the entire second half of the game.
Both players were on the field for Kansas City’s first practice leading up to the Chiefs-Steelers playoff game. However, Edwards-Helaire and Williams were limited in their first session of the week, according to the team’s injury report. That’s why it wouldn’t hurt to bring in Thompson, who has proven to be effective in Kansas City’s backfield and can re-acclimate to the Chiefs’ offense quickly.
Although the Chiefs do have McKinnon and Gore as options in the event that neither Edwards-Helaire nor Williams could play on Wild-Card weekend, the team does not currently have any running backs on their practice squad. So, adding Thompson could resolve that issue and would be available for a promotion in the event that injuries continued to plague the backfield as the postseason continues.
The Chiefs face the Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday Night Football on Sunday, January 16.