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Bucs sign journeyman receiver John Brown to practice squad as injuries mount

With Breshad Perriman working with trainers on a side field and Cyril Grayson doubtful, the Bucs added the veteran receiver, who played for Bruce Arians in Arizona.
49ers cornerback K'Waun Williams (24) covers Jaguars wide receiver John Brown, right, as he runs a pass route during a Nov. 21 game.
49ers cornerback K'Waun Williams (24) covers Jaguars wide receiver John Brown, right, as he runs a pass route during a Nov. 21 game. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | Associated Press (2021) ]
Published Jan. 13
Updated Jan. 13

TAMPA ― Breshad Perriman was limited at practice Thursday with a hip injury. Cyril Grayson is doubtful with a hamstring issue. Antonio Brown was released and Chris Godwin is done for the year with a torn ACL.

Tom Brady may be running out of targets.

That’s why the Bucs signed well-traveled veteran receiver John Brown to the practice squad. Brown, or “Smoke” as he is known in NFL circles, was a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 and played four seasons under Bruce Arians.

“He just got here late last night,” offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said of Brown. “We’ll meet with him throughout the week and see how much he retained. ... He’s a smart player.”

Brown, 31, has spent the 2021 season mostly bouncing from the Raiders, Broncos and Jaguars’ practice squads; he did play sparingly in four games. His best season came at Buffalo in 2019 when he caught 72 passes for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. Brown also played one season for Baltimore in 2018.

To make room for Brown, the Bucs released running back Darwin Thompson.

Perriman was among 14 Bucs on the injury list. Since joining the team this season, Perriman has 11 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown in six games. Perriman said he should be okay for Sunday’s wild-card game against the Eagles.

“I mean I’m feeling good,” Perriman said. “I talk to the trainers a lot. Those are my guys. I’m feeling good and I’m just ready to get out there Sunday.”

The Bucs already were depleted at the receiver position. Also limited Thursday were cornerback Jamel Dean (hamstring), Sean Murphy-Bunting (hamstring), outside linebacker Anthony Nelson (ankle), outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), cornerback Rashard Robinson (groin) and receiver Justin Watson (quadriceps). Grayson and running back Ronald Jones (ankle) did not practice.

Mike Evans still may not be 100 percent after the hamstring injury he sustained in the 9-0 loss to New Orleans several weeks ago but was a full participant at practice. The Bucs may need to turn more to players such as Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and rookie Jaelon Darden.

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