The Bucs returned to work following their bye week on Monday and immediately welcomed a few familiar faces back to the practice fields at One Buc Place. They just weren’t the faces most Buccaneers fans wanted to see.
While defensive linemen Gerald McCoy (calf), Robert Ayers (ankle), Clinton McDonald (hamstring) and running back Doug Martin (hamstring) remained sidelined, wide receiver Louis Murphy returned to the practice field in an active capacity.
Murphy, who started the season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list after undergoing offseason knee surgery, began the 21-day period in which he can practice before being activated and to say he was anxious to get back would be an understatement.
“I was so anxious to get back that I couldn’t sleep during the bye week,’’ Murphy said, “I was resting all week, just itching for Monday to come. I didn’t get too much sleep last night, but I’m glad to be back with my teammates and back in the huddle.’’
Murphy can be activated at any time during the practice period and while it’s too soon to know for sure, there may be a need for him as Vincent Jackson was among those not practicing upon the Bucs return to work following their bye week.
“That will be up the trainers (as far as when I actually return),’’ Murphy said, “but I feel great. No issues. We attacked the rehab really hard. There were days when I felt like I was pushing and (the trainers) were pushing me to the limit but I feel great.’’
The return of Murphy was just one of several roster moves the Bucs made on Monday. In addition, the Bucs cut running back Russell Hansbrough and signed running back Antone Smith and signed wide receiver Donteea Dye to practice squad.
The Bucs also signed safety Trae Elston, wide receiver Freddy Martino and tight end Tevin Westbrook to the practice squad. Dye and Westbrook were with the Bucs during the offseason and Martino has already played in two games for the Bucs this year.
Dye was with the Bucs last year, of course, and played in 10 games with five starts, catching 11 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.