Bucs sign WR Josh Huff to practice squad
Josh Huff said he felt "fortunate and blessed" to be given another chance with the Bucs one week after his arrest on gun and marijuana charges in New Jersey led to his release by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Huff was signed to the Bucs practice squad Monday and spent extra time after practice running routes and catching passes from Jameis Winston.
The Bucs are expected to have an opening on their 53-man roster they have not filled with defensive end Howard Jones headed to injured reserve. Standing at his new locker and shaking hands with new teammates, Huff spoke about getting a fresh start in Tampa Bay.
"You live and you learn, man," Huff said. "Obviously, I’m mad I put myself in that situation. But you live and you learn but I’m excited to be here and excited to get going and get used my new teammates and players around here and get used to the staff.
"I’m very blessed. But at the same time I know mistakes happen, lessons are learned and I’m ready to move forward from that and start a new home in Tampa."
Huff, 25, has two kickoff returns for touchdowns in his three NFL seasons, including a 98-yard score this season. He has 48 career catches as well, including 13 for 72 yards and a touchdown in a game this season. He was waived by the Eagles after his arrest and cleared waivers.
"We signed him to the practice squad. That’s it," coach Dirk Koetter said Monday. "All your practice squad guys are developmental guys you’re trying to look at. We had Josh in the Senior Bowl a few years ago when I was coaching in Atlanta. We’ve got 10 guys on our practice squad and we’re trying to develop those guys who could help us down the road."
It’s no surprise Koetter would take a chance on Huff, who played under Mark Helfrich at Oregon. Helfrich was a grad assistant at Oregon when Koetter was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator in 1997 and worked under him for eight years at Boise State and Arizona State.
The Bucs are short-handed at receiver. Vincent Jackson is on injured reserve and on Monday the Bucs were expected to place Louis Murphy on the Physically Unable to Perform-Reserve list, ending his season.
Huff was uncertain how quickly he could contribute after joining the Bucs at midseason.
"I admit, it’s going to be tough with it being the middle of the season," Huff said. "But I’m up for the challenge. I’m a competitor. I’m going to be here in the playbook and try to do everything I can to show these coaches I’m here for a good reason.
"Obviously, my job isn’t to help them, it’s to help better them in a way. But that’s in the long run. My main focus right now is to learn the playbook, learn my teammates and learn how they do things around here. I've got a great group of guys around me to help teach me the ropes."
One way Huff could help immediately is on special teams. Currently, the Bucs are using rookie safety Ryan Smith to return kickoffs and receiver Adam Humphries to return punts.
"I love special teams," Huff said. "It’s a chance to change the momentum of the game and there were big plays yesterday that were able to change the momentum of the games. I’m just looking to picking up where I left off."