It’s understandable if you missed the Earl Watford era in New England.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Watford, a veteran offensive lineman, on Friday. Watford was on the Patriots’ practice squad for two weeks this season from Dec. 15 to Dec. 29.
Tom Brady’s Buccaneers needed offensive line depth after placing right guard Alex Cappa on injured reserve with a broken ankle. Aaron Stinnie will take Cappa’s place on the Bucs’ starting offensive line Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, while Watford will serve as a backup. Brady never played with Watford on the Patriots.
“(Watford) can walk in any play four positions for us,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said, via Buccaneers.com. “(We’ll) just get him back in a little bit of football shape; he stayed in pretty good condition. Just like (with) Ted Larsen — guys that have been in this system for a while, veteran players — when you lose a guy, you try to look for veteran players rather than young guys who might not be ready.”
Larsen, who signed with the Buccaneers last month, is another former Patriots offensive lineman. The Patriots drafted him in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but he never played a game for New England, getting waived during roster cuts 10 years ago. He’s put together an impressive NFL career, playing 137 games with 88 starts in 11 seasons. He’s currently on Tampa Bay’s practice squad.
Watford initially was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, who were coached by Arians at the time. He’s played 71 games and started 25 in eight seasons.
Beyond Brady and Watford, the Buccaneers also have ex-Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Rob Gronkowski and linebacker Jack Cichy on their 53-man roster. Former Patriots running back Kenjon Barner is on Tampa Bay’s injured reserve list.