Depleted at both safety positions because of injury, the Bucs signed 10-year NFL veteran Darian Stewart on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-11, 214-pound Stewart has appeared in 130 games with St. Louis, Baltimore and Denver over his career, including 91 starts. The former University of South Carolina product has recorded 439 total tackles (21 for loss), 11 interceptions (returned for 99 yards, one touchdown), seven fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles and 5.0 sacks over his NFL career.
Stewart spent the last four seasons with the Broncos and played on the Denver team that won Super Bowl 50. Stewart earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2016, notching career bests with 68 total tackles and three interceptions, while starting in all 16 games.
“He’s a strong safety, and he’s a great communicator," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. "So, that’s a great fit for what we need right now.”
It’s the second safety the team has signed in as many days. On Monday, it added former Tennessee safety Micah Abernathy to the roster.
At one point in Friday’s 30-28 preseason loss at Pittsburgh, the Bucs were down to four healthy safeties who were in uniform. Mike Edwards aggravated a hamstring injury in the game and could miss a week. Kentrell Brice suffered an ankle injury, but did return to practice on Sunday.
D’Cota Dixon, who had shown promise in practice, suffered a season-ending injury.
In other injury news, Bucs defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter, whose strong camp has placed him among the players getting more reps in the absence of Vita Vea, left Tuesday’s practice with an apparent left leg injury. Ledbetter played 37 snaps in Friday’s preseason opener against Pittsburgh.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ledbetter graded out as the second best interior defensive lineman in the game.
The team also announced on Tuesday that defensive lineman Dare Odeyingbo has been waived. Tampa Bay’s roster stands at 90.