The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have brought in tight end Darren Fells as Rob Gronkowski continues to struggle with injury.
Fells’ agent Ron Slavin confirmed to NFL.com on Wednesday that the Bucs were signing the veteran to their practice squad and are set to elevate him to the main roster this week.
The Bucs later confirmed they had added Fells and also brought back their former wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who like Fells was initially added to the practice squad.
Gronkowski missed four games for the Bucs due to multiple rib fractures before attempting to return in Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints.
However, he was forced to leave the game with back spasms having not made a catch in the 36-27 loss.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2021
The Bucs had a bye week in Week 9 but Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said on Tuesday there was still a worry over Gronkowski’s fitness going into Sunday’s game at the Washington Football Team (2-6).
Gronkowski had made a fast start to the season with 16 catches and four touchdowns over the first three weeks of the season before going down.
The presence of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate meant the Bucs still had strong options at TE in his absence and the arrival of Fells – who was waived by the struggling Detroit Lions this week – will provide further depth.
The 35-year-old had 11 receiving touchdowns for the Houston Texans across 2019 and 2020, while he can also contribute as a run blocker.
New England Patriots great Gronkowski took a year out of football in 2019 before returning last season to re-join quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa and play his part in the Bucs’ Super Bowl triumph.
The Bucs (6-2) are well placed for another postseason run despite losing to the Saints last time out.
They are top of the NFC South and, as things stand, are not scheduled to play a team with a winning record over the next four weeks.
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