Bucs Place Akeem Spence On IR

Akeem Spence‘s third season will end with a trip to injured reserve, with the Buccaneers shelving one of their starting defensive tackles, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).

The third-year starter alongside Gerald McCoy had been ruled out for Sunday’s game due to an ankle injury. Running back Mike James will take Spence’s place on the 53-man roster.

Spence began the season on the PUP list with a back malady, but returned to play in eight games this season (seven starts). The 2013 fourth-rounder notched 11 tackles and his fifth career sack this season.

A starter for five games last year and 14 as a rookie, Spence will enter his contract year next season on the heels of a down campaign. Pro Football Focus rated the 24-year-old interior defender 92nd in that category this season, behind both McCoy and teammate Clinton McDonald, who was placed on IR earlier this season.

Tony McDaniel and Henry Melton will see more time in Tampa Bay’s remaining two games as a result.

James has played 19 games, all of which coming in the 2013-14 slates. His most extensive NFL work came as a rookie in ’13, when he took over for an injured Doug Martin and rushed for 295 yards (4.9 per carry). James also caught 10 passes for 43 yards before going down for the year himself.

The 24-year-old ex-sixth-round pick didn’t factor in much last season, gaining just 37 yards in 11 games.


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