The Buccaneers had a spot open on their practice squad heading into the start of practice in Week Seven, but on Wednesday they filled it by signing first-year wide receiver Tori Gurley.
It is not surprising to see the Bucs’ brass go after another receiver. Though NFL teams are listed to a 53-man active roster during the regular season, they really have 61 spots to work with during game preparations thanks to the eight-man practice squad. It is fairly common to see a pair of receivers on the Bucs’ practice squad at the same time, as that position often takes up eight of the 61 available spots. Tampa Bay currently has six receivers on the active roster and already had wideout Dale Moss on the practice squad.
Gurley, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Green Bay in 2011, has yet to play in a regular-season but he has seen his share of travels. The Buccaneers are his fourth team in 2012, after he went to camp with the Packers and then later spent time on the practice squads in Minnesota and Oakland. He was on the Raiders’ practice squad, in fact, until October 2.
Gurley spent his entire rookie season on Green Bay’s practice squad and then was re-signed by the Packers for 2012. He was eventually waived on August 31 before jumping to the Vikings a few days later.
At 6-4 and 232 pounds, Gurley has coveted size for the position, and he was actually a two-sports star as a prep in South Carolina. After leading his high school to state championships in both football and basketball, he originally committed to North Carolina to play both sports, but ended up at South Carolina on the gridiron.
Last year, Gurley memorably declined an opportunity to spend the last three weeks on Minnesota’s active roster, choosing to stay with the Packers on the practice squad instead. Gurley believed the opportunity to learn from some of the game’s best receivers was more valuable to his career in the long run. He’ll get another opportunity to show what he’s learned in Tampa.