The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have promoted center Ben Gottschalk and defensive end Ryan Russell to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, the team announced today.
That’s probably bad news for center Joe Hawley, who’s struggling with a knee injury. The Bucs will also be without starting left guard Kevin Pamphile due to a concussion, meaning they’ll likely be starting two new players along the interior offensive line. One of them will be Caleb Benenoch, a fifth-round rookie who has yet to play for any significant amount of time, and the other veteran Evan Smith.
Why the Bucs promoted Russell is a bit of a mystery, though. The Bucs did lose Howard Jones to injured reserve, but he wasn’t seeing a lot of playing time anyway. Russell’s a really big defensive end: 6’5”, 275 lbs., a hybrid player like William Gholston rather than a fast pass-rush specialist like Jones. He was a fifth-round pick for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, spent his first season on injured reserve, and didn’t make the team this year. We’ll see if he plays tomorrow.