TAMPA, Fla. — Nose tackle John Jenkins’ second season with the New Orleans Saints and in the NFL will end with him on injured reserve after hurting his abdomen, the team announced Saturday.
Ryan Griffin, the former Tulane quarterback in his second year as a pro, was promoted from the practice squad to fill Jenkins’ place on the active roster for Sunday’s finale between the Saints (6-9) and Buccaneers (2-13) at Raymond James Stadium.
Jenkins began the season backing up veteran nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley, and he was limited in his role early in the campaign because an offseason pectoral injury lingered. But Jenkins became the starter after Bunkley suffered a season-ending quad injury in a loss at home to Baltimore on Nov. 24.
Jenkins, a 2013 third-round draft pick, finished the season with one sack and 30 tackles (20 solo). Other players the Saints have who can play nose tackle are undrafted rookie Lawrence Virgil and more experienced backup Brandon Deaderick.
Virgil on Friday said he expected to be active in a game for the first time since the Saints promoted him to their practice squad several weeks ago with Jenkins down and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (ankle) also landing on year-ending injured reserve Friday.
Griffin spent part of last season on the 53-man roster but was never active for a game. He auditioned for the Saints’ No. 2 QB job under Drew Brees this preseason but lost out to veteran Luke McCown.