Former Cal running back Patrick Laird was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday. Laird was an unrestricted free agent who has played three NFL seasons.
The Bucs had an opening on their roster after running back Kenjon Barner was placed on the injured as a result of an ankle injury suffered in Saturday’s preseason game.
On Tuesday Laird was listed on the Bucs’ depth chart as a fourth-team running back along with Rachaad White. Leonard Fournette is listed as the first-team running back, with Ke’Shawn Vaughn on the second team and Giovani Bernard on the third team. As a result Laird has an uphill battle to make the Bucs’ regular-season roster. But he has defeated the odds before.
He was a walk-on at Cal, but was the Bears’ leading rusher in 2017, when he ran for 1,127 yards, and again in 2018, when he gained 961 yards on the ground. He also caught 96 passes in those final two seasons combined.
Laird was not taken in the 2019 NFL draft, but was signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. He not only made the Dolphins’ regular-season roster, but started four games for the Dolphins as a rookie in 2019. He played in 16 games for the Dolphins in 2020 and six in 2021, after spending most of last season on Miami’s practice squad.
Laird gained 244 yards and caught 36 passes over his three pro seasons.
He was placed on the injured list on December 8, 2021, because of a knee injury, and he became a free agent in March when the Dolphins chose not to extend the qualifying offer that would have made him a restricted free agent.
Teams need to reduce their 90-man rosters to 85 players by today (Tuesday, August 16).
Cover photo of Patrick Laird by Joseph Maiorana, USA TODAY Sports
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