Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount returns to practice

TAMPA — The Bucs' running back battle will continue uninterrupted.

Incumbent starter LeGarrette Blount, who suffered what looked like a serious groin injury Friday against the Titans, returned to practice Monday and showed no limitations.

"I feel good," Blount said. "I just came out to practice (Monday morning) to see how it would feel, and it didn't feel bad."

Blount ran in full-team, contact periods with no obvious issues. That seemed unlikely when Blount was sprawled on the turf at Raymond James Stadium just before halftime during a loss to Tennessee.

He took a hit near the end of a 4-yard run and stayed down for quite some time. Trainers appeared to examine the area around his lower left thigh and knee.

"I've gotten a lot of feedback about it," Blount said. "I heard a lot of people say that they thought it was a really bad injury. But ultimately it wasn't, so I was blessed to come out of that with just a bruise."

Blount is in the thick of a starting battle with rookie Doug Martin.

In other injury news, TE Luke Stocker (concussion symptoms) returned to practice. CB Anthony Gaitor (hamstring) was limited.

SHIPLEY CLAIMED: The Bucs claimed former Bengals WR Jordan Shipley off waivers, likely to see what the former University of Texas star has left.

Shipley, Cincinnati's third-round pick in 2010, had a strong rookie season, catching 52 passes for 600 yards as the third receiver behind Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens.

But a season-ending left knee injury in Week 2 last season brought things to an abrupt halt, and it's unclear how healthy Shipley's knee is. The torn anterior cruciate ligament kept Shipley out of offseason workouts as he was not cleared to practice until training camp began.

Shipley is primarily a slot receiver, where the Bucs have Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter. Despite past success playing in the slot, neither has distinguished himself during training camp nor the first two games of the preseason.

Claiming Shipley is a low-cost, low-risk move. He is halfway through his rookie contract, slated to earn $490,000 this season and $575,000 in 2013. The Bucs would have few, if any, financial consequences if Shipley fails to make their final roster.

TV STAR: S Ahmad Black's interception off Titans QB Jake Locker and near touchdown return was a return to his roots, Black said.

The second-year player from Florida always felt he had a nose for the football. He often gleefully told underclassmen at UF as much.

"I kind of kidded around with the younger guys during my senior year and I told them, 'I like to be on TV. The best way to be on TV is to be around the ball,' " Black said. "Good things happen around the ball."

In a group of safeties that features Bucs great Ronde Barber and seventh overall draft choice Mark Barron, it will take splash plays to get noticed. The Bucs could keep just four safeties, meaning they'll be choosing among Black, Larry Asante, Cody Grimm and rookie Keith Tandy.

"We have good depth at the safety spot," Black said. "Every day we go out and bust our butts and help each other in practice to get better."

ROSTER MOVE: The Bucs released CB Desmond Marrow, filling his spot with veteran CB Brandon McDonald, most recently of the Lions.

McDonald is a former fifth-round pick of Browns, starting 27 games in three seasons in Cleveland. In 2008, he had a career-high five interceptions.

McDonald has bounced around since, playing part of a season with the Cardinals and parts of two seasons for Detroit.

Tampa Bay currently is missing CBs Gaitor and E.J. Biggers (broken foot).

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @HolderStephen.

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