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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs add LB White to crowded injury report Saturday

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Even though the Bucs are favored to win in Detroit on Sunday, their injuries and the possible effect it will have on them in Sunday’s game are mounting up.

First, as we wrote Friday, the most prominent Buccaneer on the injury report, quarterback Jameis Winston, is expected to play with a slightly cracked bone in his throwing thumb. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians told the media after Friday’s practice that Winston was able to throw in the practice and should be good to go.

Now, comes word on Saturday the Bucs star defensive rookie, Devin White, is added to the injury report with an unknown illness. The team officially listed him as questionable before traveling to Detroit.

White, who was the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft has been coming on the second half of the season putting together a 10 tackle, two sack game against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. And, a week later in the game against the Jaguars, he had an interception of Nick Foles and a fumble return for a touchdown both in the first quarter of Tampa Bay’s easy win.

Those games helped White be named the NFC Defensive Rookie of the month for November.

If he cannot go, it is expected that veteran Kevin Minter will slide into White’s role alongside Pro Bowl veteran Lavonte David. Minter played for several games earlier this year, when White was out with a sprained knee ligament.

The Buccaneers will already also be without wide receiver Mike Evans, who suffered a hamstring injury on his 61-yard touchdown catch last week against the Colts. It is likely that Evans will be done for the season with the injury, but Tampa Bay did not place him on IR, yet, this week.

That means the Tampa Bay’s other top target, WR Chris Godwin, will be more heavily counted on against the Lions. Godwin is having a fantastic third season, where he has been in the top five all year long in receptions and yardage.

The Bucs have another serious concern with the status of left tackle Donovan Smith. He was injured in the second half of the Colts win Sunday, and has not practiced all week with what’s listed as a knee/ankle injury. Smith, who’s never missed a game since coming into the NFL in 2015 is listed as doubtful. If Smith cannot go, the Buccaneers will likely turn to veteran Josh Wells, who has played sparingly at both tackle spots this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

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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

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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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