7 Alabama alumni join NFL practice squads on Sunday – AL.com

Seven of the 13 Alabama alumni released by NFL teams on Saturday re-signed with those teams as practice-squad members on Sunday.

NFL teams had to reduce their 80-player training-camp rosters to the regular-limit limit of 53 on Saturday.

The former Crimson Tide players re-signing on Sunday included:

· Wide receiver Gehrig Dieter by the Kansas City Chiefs

· Tight end Hale Hentges by the Washington Football Team

· Safety Jared Mayden by the San Francisco 49ers

· Center Ross Pierschbacher by the Washington Football Team

· Wide receiver Cam Sims by the Washington Football Team

· Cornerback Saivion Smith by the Dallas Cowboys

· Long snapper Carson Tinker by the New York Giants

Of the six players released on Saturday who were not announced as joining practice squads on Sunday, Robert Foster will sign with the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad, Matt Zenitz of AL.com reported. The Buffalo Bills waived Foster on Saturday.

The other Alabama players released on Saturday included safety Shyheim Carter by the New York Jets, guard Lester Cotton by the Las Vegas Raiders, running back Derrick Gore by the Los Angeles Chargers, safety Maurice Smith by the Cincinnati Bengals and outside linebacker Tim Williams by the Packers.

Not all NFL teams filled their practice squads on Sunday. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL expanded practice squads for this season from 10 players to 16, creating 192 new roster spots for 2020.

With new players needing to complete the NFL’s COVID-19 testing protocol to enter a team facility, let alone practice, most of the players joining practice squads on Sunday, like the Alabama seven, re-signed with the team that had just cut them on Saturday.

The Sunday practice-squad signings showed a greater demand for kickers, punters and long snappers than practice squads usually carry. By having a kicker on the practice squad, a team would have immediate access to him if its No. 1 kicker got hurt or tested positive for COVID-19.

The NFL also will allow each team to activate two players from its practice squad for each game, then return them to the practice squad after the game without having to put them on waivers.

Players on the practice squad can do everything that the players on the active roster do except play in games.

Players with two or fewer accrued seasons of NFL service make a minimum of $8,400 per week as practice-squad members. For players with more than two years of service, the minimum practice-squad salary in $12,000 per week.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

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