TAMPA — Fifteen minutes into practice Saturday afternoon, having survived the final roster cut down a night earlier, Bucs rookie tackle Bradley Sowell and veteran defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry were escorted off the field like uninvited guests.
Though it didn't go unnoticed, the rest of the team ignored their misfortune and huddled around coach Greg Schiano. A few moments later, Schiano jogged over to Sowell, who had removed his shoulder pads, and had a few words with him before heading inside One Buc Place to talk with Gilberry.
"When some things occurred that we weren't sure would, we had to get some guys off the field, which certainly is the bad part of this business," Schiano said, "but it is a business, and we all know that when we get into it. But we had to get some guys out of there, which isn't the easiest thing.
"Is it a little awkward? Yeah, it is."
Awkward? Perhaps, but also necessary. The Bucs — who entered the day with 52 players, one short of the roster limit — claimed three players off waivers Saturday: Jacksonville defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, Eagles guard Julian Vandervelde and Texans center/guard Cody Wallace.
Tampa Bay also signed Giants running back D.J. Ware and released cornerback Brandon McDonald. Ware, who had been with the Giants since 2007, won two Super Bowl rings there and is familiar with the Bucs offense under new coordinator Mike Sullivan.
Ware, 27, has 81 career rushes for 324 yards and one touchdown.
Irvin played four games with the Jaguars last season, recording four tackles. He was a third-round pick (93rd overall) of the Carolina Panthers in the 2009 draft. Vandervelde, a fifth-round (161st overall) choice of the Eagles out of Iowa, played in one regular-season game in 2011 as a rookie.
Wallace spent last season with the Texans practice squad. He was a fourth-round pick (107th overall) of the 49ers out of Texas A&M in 2008 and spent his first two pro seasons there. Wallace also was a member of the Lions and Jets in 2010.
The Bucs' depth on their offensive line has been tested after the season-ending torn right patellar injury to Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph in a preseason game against the Patriots on Aug. 24.
Meanwhile, the defensive line lost Da'Quan Bowers to a torn Achilles and Brian Price in a trade to the Chicago Bears. On Friday, the Bucs reached an injury settlement with defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who is headed back to Chicago.
"This thing until Tuesday is going to be a very fluid situation," Schiano said.
The Bucs also began formulating their eight-man practice squad, signing former Florida State receiver Bert Reed, Saints center/guard Brian Folkerts, tight end Drake Dunsmore and former University of Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber, who was cut by the Broncos.
Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected]