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Bucs' Jackson reinstated to NFL after year-plus suspension

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson is back in the NFL after being suspended more than a year for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

The Bucs said Tuesday that the fifth-year pro has been placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list, which means he can begin practicing immediately, and coach Raheem Morris will have up to two weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster. The Bucs host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, travel to London to face the Chicago Bears the following Sunday, then have a bye Oct. 30.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said there's no definitive timetable for getting Jackson back into the lineup.

"I'll leave that up to Coach Morris and what he does on the practice field over the next four or five days, over the next basically two weeks to see what he can do," Dominik said. "And the moment we feel like he's able to help this football team, he'll be on the field helping us prepare and win games."

Jackson was a fourth-round draft pick in 2007 and started 32 consecutive games to begin his career. He was suspended for the first four games of 2009 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He was disciplined again for a minimum of a year just two games into the 2010 season.

The safety, who has eight interceptions in 46 career games, became eligible for reinstatement Sept. 22.

"I'm anxious, very excited. Just willing to do whatever it takes at this point to help this team," Jackson said, declining to elaborate on specifics of what he had to do while suspended to ensure his reinstatement.

"Without going into a lot of detail, I was in treatment," he added. "I did a stint in treatment that I needed and was also required for reinstatement. I think that's all I can go into about that."

The reinstatement comes two weeks after the Bucs lost second-year safety Cody Grimm for the season with a knee injury. Grimm became a starter as a rookie after Jackson's most recent suspension.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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