Bucs put safety Chris Conte on IR

Bucs safety Chris Conte (23) missed the Bears game and will miss Sunday's with a knee injury. Associated Press
Bucs safety Chris Conte (23) missed the Bears game and will miss Sunday's with a knee injury.Associated Press
Published January 1 2016
Updated January 2 2016

TAMPA — The Bucs placed starting S Chris Conte on injured reserve Friday with a knee injury that also kept him out of Sunday's game against the Bears, which means first-year player Kimario McFadden will be the No. 3 safety in Sunday's season finale at Carolina.

McFadden, 24, made his NFL debut for the Bucs against the Cowboys in November, totaling 24 snaps on special teams in two games before he was released and signed back to the practice squad. He'll play special teams Sunday and should get a look on defense. Starters Keith Tandy and Bradley McDougald are the other safeties on the roster.

"It's big," McFadden said. "This gives me a pretty good chance to stick around for next year. It's going to be huge for me. It will keep me in the league, coming from (being) undrafted."

McFadden, from South Carolina State, spent the final month of last season on the Panthers' practice squad and was on their roster until May, so he's familiar with Carolina.

Another Bucs special teams player, LB Adarius Glanton, spent most of the past two seasons with the Panthers, getting 12 tackles in 10 games as a rookie last year and spending the first three months of this season on their practice squad.

"I know how all of them play," he said. "My preparation is always trying to key in on how guys play, and I already know that, so that helps me a lot this week."

CALLED UP: For the fifth time in two weeks, the Bucs promoted a practice-squad player and can keep him 2016. LB Darius Eubanks, 24, who last played in the NFL with the Browns in 2013, spent much of this season on the Cowboys' practice squad.

INJURIES: WR Vincent Jackson, DT Akeem Spence and S Major Wright also went on injured reserve in the past week, so depth will be an issue at some positions. The Bucs likely won't have any severe injuries among their seven inactives, so the decision on whom to dress depends on which recent promotions the coaches want to see.

WR Evan Spencer and TE Tevin Westbrook could debut after getting extended looks on the practice squad.

The remaining injured players are listed as probable, including DE Will Gholston, who participated fully Friday after being limited by a hip injury this week.

SHORTHANDED: Carolina, the NFL's No. 2 running game at 144 yards a game, will miss Pro Bowl RB Jonathan Stewart (foot) and backup Fozzy Whitaker (ankle). That leaves FB Mike Tolbert and two rookies. Cameron Artis-Payne has 139 rushing yards this season, and Brandon Wegher will make his NFL debut.

Quotable: "I'm going to congratulate him and then tell him I've been dealing with this for years, so get used to it. I have four kids, so nobody takes it easy on me." — Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, on Panthers QB Cam Newton, whose first son, Chosen, was born on Christmas Eve

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346. Follow @GregAuman.