TAMPA — The Bucs have signed defensive end Carl Nassib to replace outside linebacker Cam Gill, who sustained a Lisfranc injury during Saturday’s preseason opener.
Nassib spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in Tampa Bay, and he started 17 games while appearing in 29 across the two years. He recorded 12.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and then signed a deal with the Raiders. They released him in March.
In June 2021, Nassib became the NFL’s first active openly gay player. He said in an Instagram video at the time that “representation and visibility are so important,” adding that “I actually hope that like, one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and that’s compassionate.”
Coach Todd Bowles said Monday he’s not sure how much time Gill — competing with Anthony Nelson for a spot in the outside linebacker rotation behind starters Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka — will miss. Gill wore a walking boot on his right foot Monday, using a knee scooter to move around.
“It could be a little bit,” Bowles said. “It could be more.”
It’s the second time in two seasons a Bucs linebacker endured a Lisfranc injury. Lavonte David missed the final three regular-season games and estimated he participated in the 2022 playoffs at 60 percent. David’s foot injury lingered into the offseason and mandatory minicamp, too.
Gill recorded two tackles for loss across three plays to close Miami’s first drive Saturday. He dropped running back Sony Michel for a 3-yard loss, and on third down, Gill beat Dolphins tackle Larnel Coleman and recorded a sack. Bowles said the third-year linebacker — who also played a special teams role — has expanded his skillset from “strictly power” since signing out of Wagner.
“He’s still a tenacious rusher, and we don’t mind putting him in there,” Bowles said Saturday. “We don’t feel like we lose anything when he goes into ball games, so he’s become very trustworthy.”
The Bucs also placed running back Kenjon Barner on injured reserve, and they signed Patrick Laird to add positional depth. Laird was a tryout player for the team earlier this offseason, and he appeared in 37 games for the Dolphins the last three years. He recorded 244 rushing yards, 289 reception yards and occasionally logged snaps with Miami’s special teams unit.
Laird knew the Bucs’ system from before, Bowles said, and he “looked good when we worked him out.” He also adds to a position room currently waiting for Giovani Bernard — who left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury — to return. Bowles said Monday that Bernard is sore and will “be down a little bit.”
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Sterns trying to find any role
The first thing that’ll help receiver Jerreth Sterns make the Bucs’ 53-man roster is consistency, he said Monday. A four-catch, 51-yard performance in the preseason opener, capped by a touchdown on a slot fade, helped with that.
But the rookie added that he needs to carve out a special teams role. It’ll look different from the punt and kick returns he contributed at Western Kentucky, as the undrafted free agent — who earned the receiving triple crown in 2021 — has instead tried to demonstrate he can “run, hit and play fast on special teams.”
“In college, I was just a return guy …” Sterns said Monday. “I never really had to run down on anything, so it’s an adjustment for sure.”,
Odds and ends
Bowles said safety Logan Ryan and linebacker Grant Stuard are both sore. They didn’t practice, along with receivers Mike Evans (hamstring), Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman, outside linebackers Nelson and JoJo Ozougwu, and tackle Jonathan Hubbard. Quarterback Tom Brady and center Ryan Jensen — both expected absences — also weren’t present. ... Perriman hasn’t practiced since exiting a drill Aug. 1, but he worked off the JUGS machine. … The Bucs have to trim their roster to 85 before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, and Bowles said those decisions will involve a combination of both practice observations and tape. “It’s always tough when cut days come because you don’t ever want to ruin anybody’s dream, but the nature of the business is we gotta let people go.”
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