Bucs CB Kelly out for season with torn pectoral muscle

Updated: October 21, 2003, 5:03 PM ET

TAMPA, Florida - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without an integral part of their defense for the rest of the season after placing cornerback Brian Kelly on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn pectoral muscle.

Kelly originally suffered the injury in an October 6 game against the Indianapolis Colts. He sat out a game before aggravating the injury in Sunday's 24-7 loss at San Francisco.

The club announced that Kelly will undergo surgery.

"It's an unfortunate situation," Kelly said. "Surgery was always a priority coming in after I first had the injury. However, I wanted to recover and see what I could do, if I could come back and play with it. It really wasn't about the pain. I just didn't have the movement and the strength I needed."

Part of one of the league's best secondaries along with fellow cornerback Ronde Barber and strong safety John Lynch, Kelly tied for the league lead with nine interceptions last season, helping the Bucs win their first Super Bowl.

In five games this season, the 5-11, 193-pound Kelly had one interception and 15 tackles.

Kelly's injury is another significant blow for the Bucs, who already have lost fullback Mike Alstott (neck) for the rest of the season. The club also has been without wide receiver Joe Jurevicius (knee) for the last four games.

When Kelly was injured against the Colts, the Bucs were forced to use Tim Wansley at left cornerback. Tampa Bay squandered a 21-point lead with under five minutes remaining in that contest before eventually losing in overtime.

Tampa Bay (3-3), which is two games behind Carolina in the NFC South, also could be without Lynch for this week's game against Dallas due to a stinger.

To replace Kelly on the roster, the Bucs signed cornerback Hank Poteat to a two-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Poteat played three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being drafted in the third round in 2000. He appeared in 41 games, mostly as a nickel back, kick returner and special teams ace, before being released in the Steelers' final roster cut on August 31.

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