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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs promote WR Martino, who caught Tebow's final TD

Freddie Martino finished the preseason strong, getting six catches in the final 10 minutes of the final preseason game, earning a spot on the practice squad.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Freddie Martino finished the preseason strong, getting six catches in the final 10 minutes of the final preseason game, earning a spot on the practice squad.

21

September

The Bucs have filled the opening on their 53-man roster, promoting receiver Freddie Martino from the practice squad and giving the former small-school star another chance at playing in the NFL in Sunday's home opener against the Rams.

Martino, 25, played with Dirk Koetter in Atlanta in 2014, and had the briefest of NFL debuts -- he played a total of two snaps in one game, with a single pass thrown his way and incomplete in the fourth quarter as the Falcons trailed the Ravens 20-0. Martino finished the preseason strong, getting six catches in the final 10 minutes of the final preseason game, earning a spot on the practice squad.

His promotion suggests that receiver Cecil Shorts won't be playing Sunday -- and perhaps longer -- due to a hamstring injury suffered in Sunday's loss at Arizona. That means Martino would likely dress as the Bucs' No. 5 receiver, perhaps helping on special teams as well.

Martino played at Division II North Greenville in college, putting up ridiculous numbers his senior year in 2013 -- 146 catches for 1,680 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had at least 10 catches and at least 90 yards in each game his senior year, playing his home games in a stadium that seats 5,000 fans.

His other claim to fame? With the Eagles last year, he caught a touchdown in the final preseason game from former Heisman winner Tim Tebow. Martino caught a 45-yard pass from Tebow, then the two connected on a 9-yard score with 5:31 left in what would be Tebow's final NFL game.

To fill Martino's  spot on the practice squad, the Bucs signed former Purdue and Cowboys defensive end Ryan Russell, who will wear No. 96 for Tampa Bay.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 1:46pm]

    

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