Bucs waive Shipley, add veteran Parrish
Jordan Shipley's brief stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to an abrupt end Tuesday, derailed by a fumbled punt Sunday in a 16-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The free-agent wide receiver and special teams player was waived and replaced on the roster by eight-year wide receiver and standout return man Roscoe Parrish, the longtime Buffalo Bill and former Miami Hurricane.
The Bucs signed Shipley, a third-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, late in camp to add depth to their receiving corps and kick-return ranks. He was released in the final round of roster cuts in late August, but re-signed last Tuesday after wide receiver Sammie Stroughter injured his right foot in the 41-34 loss to the New York Giants Sept. 16.
The Bucs placed Stroughter on injured reserve, and Shipley took over his punt-return duties Sunday in Dallas. But his Buc debut was marred when he fumbled away a punt in the second quarter. The Cowboys recovered and proceeded to kick the go-ahead field goal for a 10-7 lead that they never relinquished. “There's nothing I can really do about it but learn from it and move on," the former University of Texas standout told reporters Monday.
Now, the man who caught 52 passes for 600 yards with the Bengals as a rookie and suffered a season-ending knee injury last year is moving on, indeed. Moving in is Parrish, who has played in 77 games with 14 starts. The Bucs are especially intrigued by his special teams prowess. He has returned 135 punt returns for 1,622 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to 29 kickoff returns for 685 yards.
Most impressively, his 12.0 career punt return average ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only Chicago's WR Devin Hester (12.8) since 2005. That average currently ranks as seventh-best in NFL history (minimum 75 returns). Parrish has also been a solid offensive contributor with 134 pass receptions for 1,502 yards and seven touchdowns.
Parrish has also staked a claim on NFL history. He became the first player ever to return punts for scores in back-to-back Kickoff Weekend games (2007-08) and also led the NFL in punt return average during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
He was originally drafted in the second round (55th overall) by the Bills in 2005 out of the University of Miami.