Record-Setting Quarterback Returns to Buccaneers

Todd Bowles

Getty Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles brought back Ryan Griffin on Wednesday for the practice squad.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Ryan Griffin set a franchise record on Wednesday, August 31, when he re-signed with the team’s practice squad.

Griffin will spend a record eighth season with the Bucs — the longest for any quarterback in franchise history. The Bucs previously waived Griffin on Tuesday, August 30 before re-signing him. Griffin first joined the Bucs 2015 when he was claimed off waivers from New Orleans, and he has spent each season with the team ever since.

He joins 13 other players who signed with the Bucs practice squad on  Wednesday. All 14 of them competed with the Bucs training camp and the preseason but waived on Tuesday.

Griffin notably didn’t play in the preseason, and he is likely to stay on the practice squad for the season. He last played a regular season snap in 2019 in two game appearances when he went 2-4 for 18 yards.

His behind-the-scenes work has kept him employed with the Bucs for the past seven seasons on an annual or biannual contract. He has a one-year contract worth $1.19 million this year per Spot Trac.

The Bucs have a long history of quarterbacks not lasting with the franchise. That includes many highly-touted draft picks such as Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, Vinny Testaverde, and Jameis Winston having short stints.

Talented Skill Players Join Practice Squad

Offensive skill players on the practice squad include running back Patrick Laird, wide receivers Deven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger, and tight end J.J. Howland.

Thompkins and Geiger, both undrafted free agents, impressed with their playmaking abilities. Laird rushed for 35 yards on 12 carries in the preseason finale on August 27. Howland made a 46-yard grab in that game at Indianapolis and a 29-yard grab against Miami.

Offensive lineman joining the practice squad include tackle Dylan Cook and center John Molchon. At Indianapolis, Molchon took on extra snaps at center due to injuries with starter Robert Hainsey and backup Nick Leverett.

Defensive linemen Mike Greene, Willington Previlon, and Deadrin Senat made the practice squad. Senta posted five tackles and a half sack in the preseason game at Tennessee on August 20, and Greene tallied two tackles against Miami on August 13. Previlon helped set up cornerback Don Gardner’s interception on August 20 when the former Rutgers star hit Titans quarterback Logan Woodside.

Gardner also joined the practice squad as did Nolan Turner among the defensive back members.  Besides the pick, Gardner tallied five tackles in the preseason. Turner posted nine tackles in preseason action.

Linebackers on the Bucs’ practice squad include Genard Avery and J.J. Russell. Avery joined the Bucs late in training camp on August 25 after the Pittsburgh Steelers released him. Russell tallied 13 tackles in the preseason.

Bucs Linebacker Reacts to Trade

Amid the final cut downs on Tuesday from 80 to 53 players, the Bucs traded linebacker Grant Stuard to the Colts.

The Bucs also traded a 2023 seventh round pick to the Colts in exchange for a sixth round pick in 2023. Stuard, whom the Bucs drafted with the last pick in the 2021 draft, reacted on social media to the trade.

Stuard stood out on special teams as a rookie, but  competition at linebacker in this year’s training camp presented new challenges. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said on Wednesday that it came down to the linebackers’ play and Stuard’s injuries.

Besides Stuard, several other notable Bucs players departed on Tuesday such as wide receiver Tyler Johnson, now with the Houston Texans. Cut players not returning include, kicker Jose Borregales, safety Chris Cooper, guard Sadarius Hutcherson, cornerback Kyler McMichael, defensive lineman Benning Potoa’e, and linebackers Andre Anthony, Jordan Young, and Elijah Ponder.

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