Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs take chance on ex-Eagle Josh Huff after arrest, release

Josh Huff, 25, has 48 career receptions and has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in his three NFL seasons.

Getty Images

Josh Huff, 25, has 48 career receptions and has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in his three NFL seasons.

TAMPA — Josh Huff shook hands with some of his new Bucs teammates, who lined up to greet him for the first time as he stood at his locker Monday. Wearing a white No. 15 jersey, he was among the last players off the practice field after spending extra time running routes and catching passes from Jameis Winston.

It's not unusual for a player with the hands and speed of Huff to get a second chance. Only one week ago, on Nov. 1, after watching film at the Eagles' NovaCare complex, Huff was pulled over for speeding around 11 a.m. on the New Jersey side of the Walt Whitman Bridge and charged with possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana, a 9mm handgun without a permit and for a magazine found with six hollow-point bullets.

The Eagles placed Huff on waivers last week and he was not claimed, left to wonder where his NFL career would resume.

Huff, 25, said he is motivated and ready to move on. He could turn a setback into a comeback if he can help the injury-depleted Bucs improve on a 3-5 start.

Huff was signed to the Bucs' practice squad Monday, and the team is expected to have an opening on the 53-man roster with defensive end Howard Jones headed to injured reserve.

"You live and you learn, man," Huff said. "Obviously, I'm mad I put myself in that situation. But you live and you learn, but I'm excited to be here and excited to get going and get used to my new teammates and players around here and get used to the staff.

"I'm very blessed. But at the same time I know mistakes happen, lessons are learned and I'm ready to move forward from that and start a new home in Tampa."

For a team that released Austin Seferian-Jenkins after he was charged with a DUI on Sept. 23, the signing of Huff may seem odd. But Seferian-Jenkins' arrest was merely the last of a multitude of reasons why the Bucs were dissatisfied with the tight end.

Huff could add a kick returner and receiver to a depleted offense that has lost Vincent Jackson to a knee injury and placed Louis Murphy on the physically unable to perform reserve list Monday.

Huff has two kickoff returns for touchdowns in his three NFL seasons, including a 98-yarder this season. He has 48 career catches as well, including 13 for 72 yards and a touchdown in seven games this season.

"We signed him to the practice squad. That's it," coach Dirk Koetter said Monday. "All your practice squad guys are developmental guys you're trying to look at. We had Josh in the Senior Bowl a few years ago when I was coaching in Atlanta. We've got 10 guys on our practice squad, and we're trying to develop those guys who could help us down the road."

It's no surprise Koetter would take a chance on Huff, who played under Mark Helfrich at Oregon. Helfrich was a graduate assistant at Oregon when Koetter was the Ducks' offensive coordinator in 1997 and worked under him for eight years at Boise State and Arizona State.

Huff was uncertain how quickly he could contribute after joining the Bucs at midseason.

"I admit, it's going to be tough with it being the middle of the season," Huff said. "But I'm up for the challenge. I'm a competitor. I'm going to be here in the playbook and try to do everything I can to show these coaches I'm here for a good reason.

"Obviously, my job isn't to help them, it's to help better them in a way. But that's in the long run. My main focus right now is to learn the playbook, learn my teammates and learn how they do things around here."

Huff could help immediately on special teams. Currently, the Bucs are using rookie safety Ryan Smith to return kickoffs and receiver Adam Humphries to return punts.

"I love special teams," Huff said. "It's a chance to change the momentum of the game, and there were big plays (Sunday) that were able to change the momentum of the games. I'm just looking to picking up where I left off."

Bucs take chance on ex-Eagle Josh Huff after arrest, release 11/07/16 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2016 7:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot


    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests


    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.