TAMPA — Free agent LB Bo Ruud couldn't have been happier when he answered the phone Sunday afternoon and learned he was about to be reunited with his older brother, starting Bucs LB Barrett Ruud.
Naturally, the first thing Bo did was call Barrett.
"I said, 'Hey, what are you doing?' " Bo said. "He said, 'Oh, laying around on the couch.' And I say, 'I'm coming down there.' He's like, 'What?!' He had no idea."
Bo, who turns 25 on Sept. 2, was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2008 and was on injured reserve the entire season after injuring his ankle. He spent most of the offseason with Cleveland until being cut recently. Now he'll get a shot to play on the same team with his brother, as he did at Nebraska "a few times my sophomore year."
"We never thought we'd make it together in the pro level," said Bo, who will wear No. 45. "This is pretty special and a pretty cool thing. Hopefully it works out and we actually get to play a lot together."
His immediate goal?
"Just come in, work hard and do whatever the heck is asked of me," said Bo, considered a long shot to make the final roster.
"Whatever happens from there is fine."
Ruud's arrival was a direct result of the loss of LB Angelo Crowell. He was placed on injured reserve with a torn biceps Monday. With LB Jermaine Phillips continuing to take some snaps at safety as a contingency plan — starter Tanard Jackson will be suspended for the first four regular-season games — the linebacking corps is a bit thin.
And the team signed CB Darrell Hunter. He spent part of the '08 campaign on the Saints practice squad and a portion of the 2007 season on the Bucs practice squad. He'll wear No. 41. His addition became necessary when CB Elbert Mack suffered an ankle injury against Jacksonville that might have ended his preseason.
Blackout lifted: The Bucs say Thursday's game against Miami will be televised locally.
That means the game met the sellout requirement before the deadline, 72 hours before kickoff. The game, scheduled for 8 p.m., will be televised nationally on Fox, Channel 13 in Tampa Bay.
But the Bucs say a limited number of seats remain.
The NFL requires games be sold out at least 72 hours before kickoff or the broadcast cannot be shown within a 75-mile radius.
Kicking battle: So far, the kicking battle between Mike Nugent and incumbent Matt Bryant hasn't materialized, due to a hamstring injury that has kept Bryant out.
"I'm just waiting for Matt to get healthy," coach Raheem Morris said. "I can't go out there and kick for Matt."
Nugent made a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter against Jacksonville, but a late 46-yarder hit an upright.
"Nugent did fine," Morris said. "He missed one the other night that I would like to have seen him make. … But he's been doing fine. His kickoffs the other night weren't great, but he'll be fine. He's got a powerful leg. But we have to see. Right now, I'm only (using) one. Until I can kick two, I don't have any competition."
Injury news: WR Kelly Campbell (quad), S Will Allen (shoulder), RB Earnest Graham (ankle) and C Jeff Faine (groin) returned to practice Monday.