Barner (groin) is a candidate to return to Tampa Bay on a league-minimum deal, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports. Barner won't have much of a place in the Buccaneers backfield after the team decided to bring back Leonard Fournette, but his utility on special teams could allow him a shot to compete during training camp. Barner currently is a free agent after having ended last season on IR due to a groin injury, and his best chance of signing anywhere when healthy will be as an option in the return game.
Barner (groin) returned seven kickoffs for 167 yards and ran back 13 punts for 75 yards across six games during the 2020 regular season. He logged just six snaps from scrimmage, failing to bring in his only target. The veteran back saw minimal action on offense for the third time in his last four stops, plying his trade as a full-time return man when not on the Buccaneers' practice squad. Barner also dealt with a concussion and a groin injury, the latter which landed him on injured reserve in late December and ultimately kept him sidelined through the team's postseason run. The 31-year-old also served a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL's Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances during the majority of October and early November, making it an eventful year. Jaydon Mickens also performed well in a returner capacity for Tampa Bay and finished the year in that role, and as a younger option, he presumably has the upper hand on Barner if a decision came down to bringing just one of them back into the fold in 2021.
Barner (groin) has been designated to return from injured reserve this week, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. Barner will now have a 21-day window during which he can be moved to the active roster, as the running back will take the practice field Wednesday. Barner was placed on IR in late December, but only played six offensive snaps on the season before suffering the groin ailment. Still, his return would add depth to Tampa's kick and punt return game.
Barner (groin) was placed on IR on Wednesday, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports. Barner had replaced wide receiver Jaydon Mickens as Tampa Bay's return man for punts and kickoffs earlier this season, and the team has promoted Mickens from the practice squad to take back his old role with Barner shelved. The running back played just six snaps on offense all season, so his absence won't be felt in that aspect of the game.
Barner returned two kickoffs for 43 yards and ran back five punts for 20 yards in the Buccaneers' 47-7 win over the Lions on Saturday. The veteran running back was particularly busy in the blowout win, with the Lions offense frequently stalling once Matthew Stafford (ankle) was forced from the contest. The highlight of Barner's seven returns was a 30-yard scamper on a kickoff runback, and he now has 242 total return yards through six games. Barner's role should remain exclusive to special teams in Week 17, as the 31-year-old has just six snaps from scrimmage on the campaign.
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