The Buccaneers are adding another body to the tight end room in veteran Darren Fells, who was recently released by the Detroit Lions. The news originally surfaced via his agent, Ron Slavin of Sportstars, Inc. and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport exported the development via Twitter.
Fells asked the Lions to release him after he was benched during Detroit's 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles back in Week 8. He's now the second Lions cast-off to be signed by the Buccaneers in as many days, as the team signed veteran wide receiver Breshad Perriman to the practice squad Tuesday.
The 35-year-old is entering his eighth year in the league after going undrafted out of U.C. Irvine in 2008. He played professional basketball overseas and in various parts of South America from 2008-2012 before getting picked up by the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.
The Seahawks released Fells in August of 2013 and he was picked up by none other than Bruce Arians, who was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals at the time. Fells spent the 2013 on Arizona's practice squad and signed a future/reserve contract with the team in January of 2014. He made his first official NFL start during Week 3 of the 2014 season and has played for the Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Houston Texans before re-joining the Lions in 2021.
Fells has 127 career receptions for 1,526 yards and 21 touchdowns on 177 targets over the course of 109 games. So far, he has four receptions for 43 yards on five targets through seven games with the Lions in 2021.
Per Rapoport's report, the Bucs will sign him to the practice squad, but hope is he will be signed to the Bucs' 53-man roster this week while Rob Gronkowski continues to recover from a ribs injury he suffered against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3.
Per The Athletic's Greg Auman, the Bucs have released receiver John Hurst in order to make room for Fells on the practice squad.
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