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Bucs' Evans practices, looks promising to face Saints

Bucs receiver Mike Evans, facing the Bengals in a preseason game, missed Sunday’s regular-season opener with a hamstring injury.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans, facing the Bengals in a preseason game, missed Sunday’s regular-season opener with a hamstring injury.
Published Sep. 17, 2015

TAMPA — Bucs WR Mike Evans, who missed Sunday's season opener with a hamstring injury, participated in Wednesday's full-pads practice, an encouraging sign for his chances of playing Sunday at the Saints.

"(You) just want to get back on the practice field as soon as you possibly can," coach Lovie Smith said.

Backup CB Mike Jenkins, who was inactive Sunday with a hamstring injury, was also back at practice, saying he was hopeful he would be able to make his season debut in New Orleans. LB Bruce Carter, like Evans and Jenkins, was also limited in practice as he returns from a rib injury suffered on Sunday's opening kickoff.

Two players who were injured Sunday did not practice: LB Danny Lansanah remains out with an ankle injury, and S Major Wright has a hip injury. DE T.J. Fatinikun, who injured his shoulder in the preseason finale in Miami and missed Sunday's opener, did not practice and said he didn't know when he would be cleared to return to practice.

WELCOME BACK: The team signed LB Orie Lemon to its 53-man roster, bringing back a player who played on defense and special teams last season to add to its linebacker depth.

Lemon, who was waived last month with an abdominal/rib injury, had 17 tackles on defense and six on special teams last season. He will step in for James-Michael Johnson, who was waived-injured Tuesday after matching a team high with 18 snaps on special teams Sunday.

"I'm ready to go, to step in there like I never left," said Lemon, who watched Sunday's opener at home on television and said it was "real strange" to see the team from outside. "Those are the guys I fought with in the offseason, to see them go down like that, it hurt me."

The Bucs have also filled out their practice squad with another familiar face — CB Isaiah Frey, who was cut in preseason. Frey had 10 tackles on defense last season and five on special teams. Having Frey on the practice squad allows him to practice this week and potentially be called up late in the week if Jenkins can't play.

The team also confirmed two new players added to the practice squad who were previously reported: former Lions LB Julian Stanford and rookie DT Derrick Lott, who played at Georgia and Chattanooga.

THIS AND THAT: TE Cameron Brate, cut from the Bucs' practice squad on Tuesday, was signed to the Saints' practice squad on Wednesday. … The Bucs are putting in extra time working on a silent count on offense, anticipating a boisterous crowd Sunday in the Superdome. … RB Bobby Rainey has added a "Jr." to the back of his jersey this season, but FB Jorvorskie Lane had a different wrinkle, adding "Sr." to his, a nod to his 7-year-old son, Jorvorskie Jr. … Saints QB Drew Brees, asked about needing three touchdown passes to become the fourth player with 400 for his career: "Let's get there first. Just focused on winning the football game." Brees said he had dinner with Bucs rookie QB Jameis Winston this spring in San Diego when Winston was working out before the draft. "He's an intelligent guy who is only going to get better the more experience he gains," Brees said.

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Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.


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