Rookie tight end Danny Vitale, cut twice in the past week, is back with the Bucs, getting signed Friday to Tampa Bay's practice squad, replacing receiver Evan Spencer, who has abruptly retired at age 23.
Vitale, a sixth-round pick of the Bucs out of Northwestern, was among the Bucs' final cuts last weekend to set their initial 53-man roster. He was claimed off waivers by the Bills, who then waived him after he failed a physical. His agent said the Bills diagnosed a torn labrum from an injury two weeks earlier that the Bucs had seen as only a mild sprain of the AC joint. He cleared waivers this time and was free to return to Tampa.
The Bucs are carrying five tight ends, so Vitale would likely need an injury to earn a promotion to the 53-man roster, but he can continue to develop on the practice squad this season.
Spencer had made the Bucs' initial 53-man roster after injuries to four other receivers, but was cut to make room for free agent Cecil Shorts this week. Spencer had cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad, but has since decided to retire. The Bucs' release gave no details as to why and he could not be reached for comment. Spencer is the son of Bucs running backs coach Tim Spencer.
The Bucs are still expected to make another move before Sunday's opener, with linebacker Josh Keyes being promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to provide depth with rookie Devante Bond out with a hamstring injury. It's not known what corresponding move would be made to make room for Keyes on the roster.
INJURY REPORT: Bond is listed as out on the Bucs' final injury report of the week, with TE Luke Stocker (back) and rookie S Ryan Smith (hand) listed as questionable; both practiced Thursday and Friday. Former Bucs safety Dashon Goldson is listed as questionable for the Falcons against the Bucs with a hamstring injury.