Jimmy Graham out, Jon Vilma in for Saints
The Bucs won't face one of the Saints' top players on Sunday after all.
The Saints have announced injured tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle), their third-leading receiver and one of the NFL's toughest matchups, did not travel with the team to Tampa and will not play on Sunday. Graham has 25 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, linebacker Jon Vilma, who has been at the center of the Bounty-gate scandal, has been activated from the PUP list and is expected to play. Vilma is appealing his season-long suspension, but his appeal will not be heard until next week. He is permitted to play until a decision is made.
The Bucs were making plans to match rookie safety Mark Barron against Graham, but that no longer will be necessary. As for Vilma, it's unclear what his role will be or how much he'll play.
Meanwhile, the Bucs used their open roster spot (they released defensive end Markus White on Friday) and filled it today with cornerback LeQuan Lewis, promoted from the practice squad. Lewis was a standout at Arizona State and has played briefly for the Cowboys.
This roster move by the Bucs means that defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will remain on the physically unable to perform list for this weekend. The earliest he could play would be on Thursday night at the Vikings.