TAMPA, Fla. — Cole Beasley wants to help Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers any way he can.
With star receiver Mike Evans suspended for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, and two of Brady's other primary options — Chris Godwin and Julio Jones — hobbled by injuries, the Bucs addressed the potential need for help by signing Beasley to the practice squad.
Evans' appeal of a one-game ban for his role in an on-field brawl was denied Wednesday, shortly before Beasley practiced for the first time.
"I've been wanting to play with Brady for a long time, so it's exciting for me," said Beasley, who has 550 receptions over 10 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.
The Bills released him last March, and the 33-year-old receiver remained unsigned until the Bucs brought him in after Evans was suspended for knocking New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore to the ground, escalating a melee during a 20-10 victory over the Saints last Sunday.
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Evans was also suspended one game in 2017 for flattening Lattimore with a blindside hit while the Saints star was engaged in a confrontation with then-Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston.
This time, Brady and Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette were in a heated exchange with Lattimore, when Evans intervened.
Evans and Lattimore were both ejected, however the Saints cornerback was not suspended.
Godwin (hamstring) and Jones (knee) remain on the injury report after sitting out last week at New Orleans. Neither player practiced Wednesday, when Beasley spent extra time meeting with coaches learning the offense.
"He's a viable receiver," coach Todd Bowles said. Obviously if people keep going down, he'll be someone we can bring up."
Beasley spent the first seven years of his career with the Cowboys, and the past three with the Bills. He had 82 receptions for 693 yards and one touchdown last season.
"I'm excited for the opportunity. Just ready to get back at it," Beasley said. "It's a humbling experience, kind of waiting this long. This is the first time I haven't been through a (training) camp. I've got a lot of catching up to do."
Bowles was asked if it's realistic to expect Beasley could learn enough in three practices to be in a position to contribute Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
"We'll see," the coach said. "He hasn't played in a while."
Beasley didn't rule out the possibility.
"I don't know what my role is going to be at this moment. I'm just coming in humble and just ready to be a part of it," Beasley said.
"I won't know everything (by Sunday)," the receiver added, "but it's a little easier when just studying a game plan and not the whole offense."
The Bucs also signed tackle Justin Skule to the practice squad.
Meanwhile, reserve running back Giovani Bernard (ankle) and offensive tackle Josh Wells (calf) were placed on injured reserve.
They were replaced on the active roster by receiver Kaylon Geiger Sr. and linebacker Kenny Young, who were signed from the practice squad Wednesday.
Former Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians also heard from the league, which investigated the melee resulting in the ejection of Evans and Lattimore, whom the Bucs felt should have been penalized for pass interference on the previous play.
An animated Arians could be seen on the sideline complaining to officials about the non-call. The Bucs have said he watched the game from the field because the Saints did not provide a skybox for him and general manager Jason Licht.
"Like I've said, he's normally upstairs. This is the one time he was downstairs," said Bowles, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach when Arians retired and became a senior assistant to Licht.
"Usually we handle our sideline pretty good," Bowles added. "Everybody got irate. We've got to have better composure on the sideline as players and coaches."
The confrontation between Brady and Lattimore escalated when Bucs running back Leonard Fournette shoved the Saints cornerback, who in turn shoved Fournette before Evans intervened and knocked Lattimore to the turf.
While Evans and Lattimore were both ejected, Lattimore wasn't suspended.
Bowles didn't have much to say about Evans losing to his appeal.
"It hasn't changed since the other day. Sunday's going to come whether he plays or not, and we've got to get ready to play without him," the coach said.
Evans is the only receiver in NFL history to begin a career with eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving. His 76 touchdown catches are the most by any player since he entered the league in 2014.
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