Bucs place Kelly on IR; sign Poteat

Updated: October 21, 2003, 5:13 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's struggling defense suffered a major blow Tuesday when cornerback Brian Kelly was placed on injured reserve with a torn chest muscle that will require season-ending surgery.

Hank Poteat was signed to replace him.

Kelly, who tied for the NFL lead with a career-high eight interceptions in 2002, injured his left pectoral muscle during the Buccaneers' 38-35 loss to Indianapolis on Oct. 6.

He sat out the following week's game at Washington, then started last Sunday's game at San Francisco but didn't finish.

With Kelly sidelined, Indianapolis exploited young backup Tim Wansley in overcoming a three-touchdown deficit in the last four minutes of regulation before beating the Bucs in overtime.

Tampa Bay yielded 458 yards in last Sunday's 24-7 loss to the 49ers, the most yards the Bucs have allowed in a game since 1991.

Poteat, who spent the last three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, signed a two-year contract. He appeared in 41 games for the Steelers, mostly on special teams where he also returned kickoffs and punts.

He was released by the Steelers on Aug. 31.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index