TAMPA — The Bucs placed S Tanard Jackson on the active roster Friday, meaning he'll be available to play Sunday against the Saints.
Jackson had been on the exempt list since being reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday after a 56-week suspension for at least a third violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.
He practiced this week and looked prepared enough to convince the coaches he could help against New Orleans.
"It's been a long time coming," Jackson said. "I'm happy to be back, happy to be activated and with this team this week, giving us the best chance at winning, and being a part of that."
Asked how he made his way back onto the field so quickly, Jackson said, "I guess I would credit it to just adrenaline. I'm just happy to be out there."
Coach Raheem Morris didn't specify whether Jackson would start. Look for him to play extensively, especially with Saints QB Drew Brees on tap.
"You can't stop him," Morris said of Brees. "This guy is a beast. He is awesome."
FOSTER IMPROVES: The status of rookie Mason Foster became a little clearer as the starting middle linebacker returned to practice for the first time this week.
Foster has been dealing with an ankle injury he sustained Sunday against the 49ers. He missed Wednesday's and Thursday's practices but wasn't limited Friday.
"I practiced (Friday) and got to run around a little bit," Foster said. "It felt good."
Asked how the injury occurred, Foster said, "I was avoiding a cut block and going to make a tackle at the same time. I kind of got rolled up on (from behind). I got up and thought I would be able to play. I guess I was limping too much, and I couldn't run, so they ended up pulling me out. … It's getting better every day. I feel like I'm good to go."
MORE INJURIES: The rest of the team's long injury report:
DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) is out, as expected. McCoy said he would travel with the team to London on Monday and would work toward playing against the Bears on Oct. 23 in England. On Friday, he wasn't wearing the walking boot he had been using.
Also out are TE Luke Stocker (knee) and WR Sammie Stroughter (foot).
RB LeGarrette Blount (knee) is listed as doubtful and not expected to play. His timetable isn't clear, but team officials don't expect the team's primary running back to be out for a long time.
LB Quincy Black, who missed two of the past three games with a recurring ankle injury, is probable after two straight days of full practice.
OT James Lee, who has missed the past four games with a knee injury, also is probable.
Seattle bound: Rookie RB Allen Bradford, released Thursday by the team to make room for Jackson, was claimed off waivers by the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll, Bradford's college coach at USC. The Bucs had hoped to sign Bradford to their practice squad had he cleared waivers. Bradford was the Bucs' sixth-round pick.
Bucs vs. Saints
4:15 p.m. Sunday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa. Radio: 620-AM, 103.5 FM Line/over-under: Saints by 4½; 49½