John Brown is back in the NFL just in time for a run to a ring.
The veteran speedster nicknamed "Smokey" has latched onto a new team, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, the team announced Thursday.
Tampa Bay is the third team Brown has joined in the 2021 season; he appeared in two games with Denver and two with Jacksonville without recording a reception in either contest. Prior to 2021, Brown was a key part of Buffalo's passing attack, posting his second 1,000-yard season of his career in 2019 before injuries limited his availability in 2020. Buffalo couldn't afford to risk another health-hampered season from Brown, signing Emmanuel Sanders to replace his role in the Bills offense in 2021.
Brown began his career with the Arizona Cardinals, where Bruce Arians was in charge of the on-field operation when Arizona selected Brown with a third-round pick in 2014. He'll reunite with the current Buccaneers coach in what is an attempt to build some dependable depth in a receiving room that has suffered losses/temporary absences due to physical ailments (Chris Godwin, Cyril Grayson, Mike Evans) or public outbursts resulting in termination (Antonio Brown).
John Brown shouldn't be expected to immediately step on the field and become a crucial third element to Tampa Bay's passing attack, but he'll at least get some time to learn the basics as a Buccaneer with the chance he'll be promoted for a playoff game in the weeks ahead. With the Buccaneers anticipating another deep run toward a title defense, having someone like Brown available is wise.
Tampa Bay opens the postseason Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt returned to practice Thursday ahead of Monday's playoff game against the Rams. Watt (shoulder) was designated to return from injured reserve on Jan. 7. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters that he was "very limited" in practice. Receiver Rondale Moore (ankle) and running back Chase Edmonds (ribs/toe) practiced in a limited capacity; RB James Conner (ribs) did not practice.
- Cincinnati Bengals receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) and cornerback Jalen Davis (ankle) are questionable to play against Las Vegas. Defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) is doubtful.
- The Dallas Cowboys activated safety Jayron Kearse from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Linebacker Keanu Neal (chest/elbow) did not practice after being limited Wednesday; left tackle Tyron Smith (knee/ankle) was upgraded from limited to full.
- Green Bay Packers pass rusher Whitney Mercilus returned to practice Thursday. Mercilus suffered a torn biceps on Nov. 14.
- Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) did not practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Receiver Tyreek Hill (heel) was limited after practicing fully Wednesday.
- Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (back/knee) was limited in his return to practice Thursday and is questionable to play against Cincinnati. Tight end Darren Waller (knee) and running back Josh Jacobs (ribs) were limited in practice again, but have no game designations.
- The Los Angeles Rams listed linebacker Leonard Floyd (back) as a DNP on the estimated injury report.
- The New England Patriots listed 13 players as questionable to play against Buffalo: center David Andrews (shoulder), defensive lineman Christian Barmore (knee), linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle), defensive back Cody Davis (wrist), defensive back Kyle Dugger (hand), kicker Nick Folk (left knee), defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder), running back Damien Harris (hamstring), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee), linebacker Brandon King (toe), receiver Jakobi Meyers (thigh), safety Adrian Phillips (knee) and tackle Isaiah Wynn (hip/ankle).
- Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (hand) was limited in practice again.
- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was designated to return from injured reserve and returned to practice Thursday. Smith-Schuster was placed on IR in October due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. Running back Najee Harris (elbow) and guard Trai Turner (knee) did not practice.
- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (right thumb) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (groin) practiced in a full capacity after being limited Wednesday. Running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) and left tackle Trent Williams (elbow) were upgraded from DNP to limited.
- The Arizona Cardinals signed linebacker Joe Walker to the practice squad and released linebacker Tahir Whitehead from the practice squad.
Front office moves
- Dallas Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay has agreed to a new contract to remain with the team, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports.