With DE Warner, Bucs Carrying 54 Players

October 2 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will carry 54 players on their active roster this week as defensive end Ron Warner returns to the team after a four-game suspension by the NFL Commissioner. The Bucs get a one-week roster exemption to see if they wish to keep him on their active roster or waive him. Warner was a star in the preseason, notching two sacks.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have one week to determine whether or not they will keep defensive end Ron Warner around. Warner has been on the team's reserve list, serving a four-game suspension set forth by the NFL Commissioner's office, but gets a one-week roster exemption this week. Warner is back at practice at One Buc Place this week.

The team will not confirm why Warner was suspended, but one possibility is that Warner had a positive test for an illegal substance in a recent drug test, although it may not be a narcotice. This year, the NFL is classifying performance enhancers including ephedrine as illegal substances.

Warner came on strong during training camp, and had two sacks in August after posting a league-leading six quarterback takedowns in NFL Europe this past summer.

Should the Bucs wish to keep him on their 53-man roster after this week, they will have to release a player in order to make room for Warner.

The fact that the team has three fullbacks -- Mike Alstott, Jameel Cook and rookie Darian Barnes -- might prompt the team to look at making a roster cut from this group should they consider keeping Warner.

The Bucs might also consider paring down their defensive linemen, such as cutting defensive end Corey Smith in favor of keeping Warner, but Smith, who wound up on the active roster due to Warner's suspension in the first place, has proven to be a player with a bright future. Smith, an undrafted rookie, has one sack during the regular season and led the Bucs with three in the preseason.

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