Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands off to running back Leonard Fournette (7) in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David game-time decisions for Bucs vs. Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians labeled running back Leonard Fournette and Pro Bowl linebacker Lavonte David as the “most questionable” of the game-time decisions for Sunday’s NFC wild-card game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.

Fournette and David were designated for return from injured reserve on Wednesday. They are eligible to be activated at any time.

Fournette, 26, was placed on IR on Dec. 23 with a hamstring injury he sustained four days earlier in a 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He led Tampa Bay in rushing with 812 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught 69 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns.

David, 31, was also put on IR on Dec. 23 with a foot injury he suffered in the game against the Saints. He started all 12 games in which he played, racking up 97 tackles, two sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. David was All-Pro in 2013 and earned Pro Bowl honors in 2015. He was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2020.

While the availability of Fournette and David are in question, running back Ronald Jones (ankle) and wide receiver Cyril Grayson Jr. (hamstring) were ruled out for Sunday’s game by Arians.

Should Fournette sit out on Sunday, the Buccaneers will turn to a stable of running backs that include Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Le’Veon Bell and potentially Giovani Bernard.

Bernard has yet to be activated from injured reserve. Vaughn led the Bucs in rushing in their regular season finale vs. the Carolina Panthers last week with 10 carries for 29 yards and touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (7) runs with the ball in the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David return to practice

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated three players off injured reserve Wednesday, including primary running back Leonard Fournette and Pro Bowl linebacker Lavonte David.

Running back Giovani Bernard also returns to practice. The Bucs have 21 days to promote the trio to the active roster. It’s expected that all three will be ready to play in Sunday’s wild-card game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.

Fournette, 26, was placed on IR on Dec. 23 with a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 15. He led Tampa in rushing with 812 yards to go with eight touchdowns. He also caught 69 passes for 454 yards and two TDs.

David, 31, was also put on IR on Dec. 23 with a foot injury he sustained in the same Dec. 19 loss to New Orleans. He started all 12 games he played in, racking up 97 tackles, two sacks, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. David was All-Pro in 2013 and earned Pro Bowl honors in 2015.

Bernard, 30, has been on IR since Dec. 14 after sustaining a hip injury in Week 14 against Buffalo. He has been Tampa’s third-down back, catching 23 passes for 123 yards and three TDs. He’s also rushed eight times for 58 yards.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) makes a reception past Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs WR Antonio Brown (ankle) sits out practice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown was held out of Wednesday’s practice because of a sprained ankle, coach Bruce Arians announced.

Brown sustained the injury during the Buccaneers’ 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

Brown had team-high totals in catches (nine) and receiving yards (93) to go along with a touchdown in that game. He has 29 receptions for 418 yards and a team high-tying four touchdown catches in five games this season.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who also has four touchdown receptions, did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. He has missed the last three games with injured ribs.

Linebacker Lavonte David (ankle) and cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring) did not practice after sustaining injuries against the Eagles. Tight end O.J. Howard and linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul were also out of practice on Wednesday.

The Buccaneers (5-1) host the Chicago Bears (3-3) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers re-sign LB Lavonte David to two-year, $25M deal

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) celebrates with his team during the first half of a NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Lavonte David signed a two-year, $25 million contract to stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

David is the longest-tenured player on the roster. Multiple reports pegged the guarantees in the deal at $20 million for the 31-year-old.

“I didn’t want to go nowhere. I have a legacy here I’m trying to chase,” David said Friday. “I’m just trying to win more Super Bowls.”

Money to keep David in Tampa was freed up thanks to quarterback Tom Brady signing a deal that created $19 million against the 2021 salary cap, per reports.

Tampa also re-signed linebacker Keith Minter to a one-year deal on Friday.

The Buccaneers entered the month not knowing where the cash might come from to retain their key free agents. Wide receiver Chris Godwin was given the franchise tag, David re-signed on Friday, leaving pass rusher Shaq Barrett as the top pending free agent for the team who remains unsigned. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown are also unrestricted free agents.

David said the team has been talking contract for more than two weeks. He never felt the need to look for a “plan B.”

“I was real secure and confident we were going to get something done,” David said.

David and Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis are the only two players in league history to amass at least 1,000 tackles, at least 20 sacks and at least 10 interceptions through their first eight seasons.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Bucs re-sign LB Lavonte David for 2 years, $25M

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bringing back inside linebacker Lavonte David on a two-year, $25 million deal, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

David, 31, has started 137 out of a possible 144 regular-season games since the Buccaneers drafted him in the second round in 2012.

He has registered at least 100 tackles in eight of his nine seasons, including 117 stops in 2020. His career totals include 24 sacks, 128 tackles for loss, 24 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions.

David made the All-Pro first team in 2013, earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 and helped Tampa Bay take down the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He is the longest-tenured player on the team and has been a captain for the past seven seasons.

Also Tuesday, the Bucs placed the franchise tag on receiver Chris Godwin and tendered one-year qualifying offers to four exclusive-rights free agents: tight end Tanner Hudson, long snapper Zach Triner and defensive linemen Jeremiah Ledbetter and Patrick O’Connor.

–Field Level Media