Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another former Falcons RB, Antone Smith, joins Bucs

TAMPA — Dirk Koetter can only hope this former Falcons running back works out as well to upgrade the Bucs' depth.

A week after Jacquizz Rodgers went for 101 yards in a win over Carolina, the Bucs signed another backup running back from Koetter's days in Atlanta, adding veteran Antone Smith to the roster on Monday and waiving rookie Russell Hansbrough.

"As a coach, the guys that you know, at least you know what they are. There's no unknown," Koetter said. "As a coach, you can build around what you know. It's the unknowns that are just hard to plan for."

Smith, 31, who played at Florida State, had only one carry last year with the Bears and hasn't played this season. He played with Rodgers for Koetter in Atlanta from 2012-14, totaling 289 rushing yards and four touchdowns and 232 receiving yards and three scores.

Until Doug Martin returns from his hamstring injury, the Bucs were relying on Rodgers and rookie Peyton Barber, who had 6 yards in his first offensive snaps last week.

"We need depth and we need experience," Koetter said. "We're in the heart of our schedule and we need guys that have played. What Antone brings is experience and speed, and he's an excellent special-teams player."

More moves: Four joined the practice squad including three familiar faces: WR Donteea Dye, who had 11 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown last year; WR Freddie Martino, active for two games this season; and TE Tevin Westbrook, a converted defensive end from Florida.

Also new to the squad is former Ole Miss S Trae Elston, a rookie who was with the Saints in the preseason and was a high school teammate of Bucs LB Kwon Alexander in Oxford, Ala.

"We grew up together. He's like my brother," said Elston, who has also known QB Jameis Winston since high school. "It feels special to have someone here you know."

Injury update: Koetter cautioned that with an extra practice Monday before normal game-week preparation starts Wednesday, players with any injury concerns were held out, but a few returned.

WR Louis Murphy, who played at Lakewood and with the Gators, practiced for the first time since having surgery on a torn ACL in November. Murphy had been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and now has 21 days to be added to the active roster. WR Cecil Shorts, who hadn't practice for four weeks due to a hamstring injury, was back Monday as well, as was TE Luke Stocker, who has missed four games with an ankle injury. WR Vincent Jackson was held out but had no apparent injury.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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