Bucs place DE George Johnson on injured reserve
The Bucs have their first major injury of training camp, as George Johnson, battling for a backup job at defensive end, was placed on injured reserve Friday after going down in Thursday's practice with a hip injury.
The move ends Johnson's 2016 season before it even begins -- the team signed Martin Ifedi, who was in camp with Tampa Bay last season, to take his place on the 90-man roster. Beginning this year, each NFL team can take one player off injured reserve after eight games, so it technically isn't necessarily a season-ending move for Johnson.
The Bucs sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Lions in spring 2015 to get Johnson, giving him a three-year contract and hoping he would help their pass rush. But after six sacks with Detroit in 2015, he had zero sacks last season and was dropped from the starting lineup. He would have competed for the final spots on the Bucs' roster had he been healthy.
His absence makes it more likely the Bucs can keep Howard Jones, who shined as a first-year player, getting five sacks in limited action. They also have former Falcons end Cliff Matthews, former Texans end Kourtnei Brown and rookie Channing Ward competing for a reserve role on the 53-man roster.
"Kourtnei Brown and Howard Jones are guys that are going to be put into the limelight," coach Dirk Koetter said. "They were already there in the competition, but it's going to increase their role a little bit."