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Buccaneers Roster Cuts: Michael Smith, Anthony Gaitor to IR; Bucs cut seven others

The first Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster cuts are in.

J. Meric

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have started their roster cuts and roster moves ahead of tomorrow's 4 p.m. deadline, when they have to be down to 75 players. The roster 'cuts' started with two players moving to injured reserve: kick returner Michael Smith has a torn foot ligament, while cornerback Anthony Gaitor has a torn ACL. Both players are unfortunately done for the year.

While Gaitor's loss may not have a huge effect, the Bucs will have to look for a different kick returner, which has been an issue ever since Clifton Smith left the team.

The Buccaneers also waived WR Carlton Mitchell, DE Ernest Owusu, QB Adam Weber and DE Markus White. In addition, they released WR Derek Hagan, FB Spencer Larsen and S Troy Nolan. No big surprises there, though Hagan could have made the roster based on his special teams ability.

The release of Larsen means the team feels Erik Lorig will be ready for the season after missing all of preseason so far, or they can fill his role with a different player. Peyton Hillis, Brian Leonard and Tom Crabtree could all fit that role, with Crabtree starting Saturday's game at fullback.

The Buccaneers also signed tight end Mike Shanahan, no relation to the head coach, who spent preseason with the New York Jets and apparently lost a roster battle with Kellen Winslow Jr. The tight end position really needs an upgrade.

The Bucs now have 82 players on their roster and will need to cut seven more by tomorrow.