Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Verner sidelined, Bucs bring back CB Anthony Gaitor

TAMPA — Bucs CB Alterraun Verner, among the team's top free agent additions in the offseason, watched Monday's practice as he nursed a hamstring injury, but he said it's just normal "nicks" from camp and he's no worse than day to day.

With Verner out, the team had returning starter Johnthan Banks and free agent signee Mike Jenkins working as first-team corners. But the injury, combined with another ankle injury to second-string corner Rashaan Melvin, was enough that the team signed Anthony Gaitor, who had been released in May, then again by the Dolphins in June after signing there.

"When we released Anthony, I told him it was a numbers game. 'We may end up calling you back. Stay ready,' " coach Lovie Smith said. "He never really got a true chance to show what he can do. He's back, made a couple of plays, of course a pick-six (in 7-on-7 drills) out there. We're taking note."

Gaitor, who had a combined 12 tackles with the Bucs in 2011-12 but missed last season with a torn ACL, said he was working out in South Florida on Sunday when he noticed a missed call — his agent, telling him to hurry to Tampa and rejoin the team.

"It's a great feeling being back around the guys I played with," said Gaitor, who had four months under the new coaches to learn the current defensive scheme. "It's a blessing, and I have to take advantage of the opportunity."

Melvin, who twisted his ankle last week and had worn a boot on his foot Sunday, had no boot on Monday but still was a spectator at practice. The players have Tuesday off before resuming practice on Wednesday afternoon, with the first preseason game still another 11 days off at Jacksonville on Aug. 8.

comings and goings: The team also on Monday signed Jibreel Black, an undrafted rookie from Michigan who will compete for the fourth defensive tackle job against rookie Euclid Cummings and second-year pro Matt Masifilo. To make room for the two additions, the team cut two undrafted rookies, Cal RB Brendan Bigelow and N.C. State WR Quintin Payton.

moving around: The team said they would rotate their options in at guard in practice, and Monday's drills brought two new first-teamers in rookie Kadeem Edwards and second-year pro Patrick Omameh. Jamon Meredith, who had worked with the first team up until Monday, was cross-training as the second-team right tackle.

this and that: TE Brandon Myers, who signed in the spring during free agency, missed practice with an excused absence. … Among those turning heads on Monday was former Miami Hurricanes WR Tommy Streeter, who caught a long touchdown pass: "He's made a few plays," Smith said. "We have seen definite improvement in him." … Players have today off — coaches have a normal workday, starting with a 6:30 a.m. breakfast — and Wednesday's practice is closed to the public, so the next open practice is Thursday afternoon.

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

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