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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers QB Winston vows to play again next Sunday

Roy Cummings



Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire

GLENDALE, AZ. – Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston can’t remember a time when he’s missed a football game because of an injury and he says he doesn’t intend to miss one now.

 “I’ll be back,’’ Winston said emphatically late Sunday when he was asked about the condition of the sore right how the sore right shoulder that knocked him out of the Bucs 38-33 loss to the Cardinals.

How soon?

“Soon,’’ Winston said.

By Sunday? Can you play next Sunday?

 “Yep,’’ Winston added. “I’ve come out (of games before). But I don’t think I ever missed a game (because of an injury) and I don’t think I’m going to miss a game (this time) either.’’

Winston said all this while his right throwing arm hung rather limp at his side in much the same way it did after his shoulder got slammed to the turf by a Chandler Jones hit early in the first quarter.

Before giving way to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Winton returned to play two more series before he was pulled from the game, but his right shoulder did not have any ice on it nor did it appear to be wrapped in any way after the game.

That shoulder also came out clean when doctors took X-rays of it on Sunday, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Winston will have an MRI today to determine the true severity of the damage.

That MRI will ultimately determine just how soon Winston can and will return to action and it’s possible that despite Winston’s optimism, he could miss a game or two or three.

Remember, Bucs linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David both expressed similar optimism about playing the next week after they suffered their respective injuries earlier this year.

Alexander, however, still has not returned from the hamstring strain that knocked him out of the season opener and David just came back on Sunday after missing two games with a left ankle sprain.

The good news for Winston, if you can call it that, is that he was only dealing with what he described as pain in the shoulder, which is something of a good sign.

That suggests that he’s not suffering from the kind of discomfort that often accompanies a more serious injury to the shoulder joint and that he may just be dealing with a bad bruise.

 “Yeah, I don’t know what it is,’’ Winston said when asked about the nature of the injury, whether it might be a sprain or not. “I’m not concerned at all.

 “It was just pain. That’s the only reason I didn’t come back. That’s the only reason, Just pain. If it had been in my other shoulder it would have been fine but with my throwing shoulder, that’s kind of tough.’’

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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