Tagged in: tampa bay

Green Bay Packers WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out for Week 3 game at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This game still has Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but the quarterbacks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers won’t have anything close to their full complement of receivers on Sunday.

The Packers for sure won’t have Sammy Watkins, their leading receiver through two games, because of a hamstring injury. Two of their other top receivers, rookie second-round pick Christian Watson (hamstring) and veteran Randall Cobb (illness), were listed as questionable on Friday.

The only one of the Packers’ top four receivers who has been cleared to play and taken off the injury report is Allen Lazard, who has been limited in practice this week because of the ankle injury that kept him out of the season opener.

Lazard returned for last week’s game versus the Chicago Bears and is the only receiver on the roster to have caught a touchdown this season

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Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated Friday that rookie receiver Romeo Doubs is “probably going to have to take more of a [work] load this week.”

The Buccaneers already knew earlier in the week that they would be without leading receiver Mike Evans because of his one-game suspension for last Sunday’s altercation in their game versus the New Orleans Saints.

Tampa Bay also won’t have receiver Chris Godwin, who was ruled out Friday because of a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Julio Jones (knee) was listed as questionable. The Packers also could be without one of their top tight ends, Marcedes Lewis (questionable with a groin injury).

Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has yet to play in the 2022 season, also was listed as questionable as he tries to return from multiple knee surgeries.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign WR Cole Beasley to practice squad

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will sign Cole Beasley to their practice squad, a source confirmed to ESPN, adding the 11-year veteran to a short-handed wide receiver corps.

Beasley was released by the Bills in March and did not sign with another team as a free agent in the offseason.

The Bucs plan to elevate Beasley to their active roster soon, according to NFL Network, which first reported the signing Tuesday. The Bills had granted Beasley permission to seek a trade in early March but lastly released him in a move that created about $6.1 million in salary-cap space.

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Beasley, 33, now will join a Tampa Bay team entering its Week 3 showdown versus the Packers without star receiver Mike Evans, who was suspended one game for his role in Sunday’s brawl with the Saints.

The Bucs also are dealing with injuries to veteran receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, who both missed their triumph over the Saints.

Evans’ appeal of his one-game suspension was heard Tuesday, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network. James Thrash, who is jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFLPA was the appeals officer. A ruling is expected this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

Beasley concluded with 82 receptions in each of the past two seasons with the Bills and has been a reliable slot receiver over his 10-year career with Buffalo and the Cowboys.

He missed a match during the 2020 season after testing positive for COVID-19 while being unvaccinated and reportedly was fined multiple times for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

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Tom Brady expected to play Saturday in Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ preseason finale

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is expected to play in Saturday’s third and final preseason match match the Indianapolis Colts.

Coach Todd Bowles did not say it outright, but when asked Thursday if Brady will play, he responded, “Everyone who is healthy will play.”

Brady, who returned this week from an 11-day absence to tend to “personal issues,” is healthy and practiced in full Thursday, as well as Monday and Tuesday, with a veteran day on Wednesday. He took his usual number of reps and looked strong and focused.

It will mark the first time Brady has played this preseason, the first time he’s lined up with wide receiver Julio Jones in a game and the first time he’ll stand behind a remade interior offensive line featuring second-year center Robert Hainsey and rookie left guard Luke Goedeke in live action.

“It’s important for game continuity,” Bowles said of seeing Brady with the starters. “We have some new guys on the O-line. We have some new guys at receiver. So other than having practiced together, we need to see ’em in a game with certain situations and just the flow of it. No matter how long it is, we just need to see it.”

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Bowles stated he’s not concerned about Brady’s level of conditioning after such a prolonged absence, nor is he concerned that Brady didn’t have enough time to build up chemistry with Jones, wide receiver Russell Gage or tight end Kyle Rudolph.

“He missed 11 days, but he wasn’t playing in the first two [games],” Bowles said. “He’s fine with everything. We know his condition and it’s fine. He’s getting back with the guys. He’s throwing the ball and we’re good. I think it was built up before we left.

“It’s just having everybody intact, practicing at the same time. You know, his days would’ve fallen the same day Julio was off and obviously Mike [Evans] being injured — we didn’t have a full slate there either, but they got to see a lot of things from the side and got to talk a lot. And I think the chemistry’s good.”

The starting left guard position remains unclear, but Bowles said Goedeke, who is competing with Nick Leverett for the job, will get the start.

Goedeke struggled last week versus the Tennessee Titans with two holding calls, and he surrendered a sack.

The fifth, sixth and possibly seventh — if the Bucs choose to keep seven — wide receiver positions after Evans, Jones, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage are also up for grabs, with Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden, Scotty Miller, Breshad Perriman, Deven Thompkins and Jerreth Sterns all competing for those remaining spots.

As for Brady, whose mid-training-camp break was unprecedented in the NFL for any uninjured player, let alone a seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Bowles said he wouldn’t have given him the time off if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

“If it wasn’t a situation, that we hadn’t talked about it, and it wasn’t important, I wouldn’t have done it,” Bowles said.

“I have that kind of relationship as well do the coaches with a lot of the players and they all have private things that they come to us with. It just came to light more than the others. And we won’t sway away from that. We don’t give nobody breaks just to take breaks.”

When healthy, Brady has participated in at least one preseason game every year since he was drafted in 2000. The only preseason he did not take part in was in 2008 when he was a member of the New England Patriots and was dealing with foot and ankle injuries.

Godwin, who has been practicing with the team for three weeks and started 11-on-11 work for the first time since suffering a torn ACL in Week 15, is not expected to play, although the coaching staff has been encouraged by his progress.

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QB Tom Brady to return to Tampa Bay Buccaneers early this week

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is anticipated to return to the team this week, coach Todd Bowles announced Sunday. Bowles did not provide a specific date, but said, “It’ll be this week, early.”

Brady has been away from the team since Aug. 11 to tend to what has been described as “personal things.” Bowles stated it was something agreed upon weeks ago and that the team supported Brady, who has kept in touch with the coaching staff during his absence.

Bowles said a decision has not yet been made on whether Brady will see action in this week’s third and final preseason game at the Indianapolis Colts.

“Not yet. We’ll see how practice goes and we’ll make those decisions at the end of the week,” Bowles said. In the past, teams have used the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the starters, although the preseason as a whole has seen a diminishing level of importance in recent years, primarily because coaches see the risk for injuries being too great and they want to give backups as much playing time as possible.

The Buccaneers’ focus this preseason has been to give second-year quarterback Kyle Trask as many reps as possible.

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Several starters and high-profile Bucs players have not participated in the preseason yet this year because of injury, the need to assess depth, or to not incur unnecessary risk.

Those players include wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, right tackle Tristan Wirfs, left tackle Donovan Smith, right guard Shaq Mason, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, cornerback Carlton Davis III and safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

In addition to his current absence, Brady has missed four days of camp in late July and early August. He has been given off days in the past, but this is the first time in 23 years he has taken a significant amount of time away from the team during training camp or the preseason.

He did miss OTAs while he was with the New England Patriots in 2018 to spend more time with his family, but those practices are optional and take place in the spring, long before the regular season starts.

All of Brady’s absences with the Bucs in 2022 have been approved by the team, although it is highly unusual for NFL teams to grant that sort of flexibility. Brady finds himself in a challenging situation.

Not only is Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen out for a significant period due to a knee injury, but the Bucs lost left guard Aaron Stinnie, who was competing for a starting role, to a torn ACL/MCL Saturday night. Evans is also still nursing a hamstring injury and Godwin is still recovering from an ACL injury, although he is making progress and is now participating in some 7-on-7 work.

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Julio Jones signing deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Veteran wide receiver Julio Jones has a new home, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

The seven-time Pro Bowler gives soon-to-be 45-year-old Tom Brady another weapon in Tampa, Florida, as Jones looks to rebound from a down season with the Tennessee Titans.

Jones joins a receiver group with the Bucs that contains holdovers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Breshad Perriman, and welcomed Russell Gage — like Jones, another former Falcon — this offseason. Godwin had offseason surgery on a torn ACL suffered late last season.

The Bucs opted not to put him on the PUP list to start training camp, but a source told ESPN that they will be careful with him before letting him practice.

Tampa Bay also brought on veteran Kyle Rudolph last week, a move to shore up its tight end spot in the wake of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement.

The Titans released Jones in March, just one season after getting him in a trade from the Falcons.

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Tennessee dealt two draft picks to acquire him last year, hoping he would provide much-needed balance to its passing attack.

However, he appeared in just 10 games because of injuries and had career lows with 31 receptions for 434 yards and just one touchdown reception. It was the second consecutive season in which Jones was limited by injury. He appeared in just nine games for the Falcons in 2020.

The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in 2011, sending multiple picks to the Cleveland Browns to be able to take the Alabama standout. Atlanta, when it moved up to acquire Jones, traded its first-round pick in 2011 (No. 26), its second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and its 2012 first-round pick.

Jones, 33, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). His 91.9 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history.

He also leads the NFL in receiving yards since 2014, and Evans leads the NFL in touchdown catches (75) during that span. Now, they’re both on the same team.

Also Tuesday, the Bucs waived tight end Codey McElroy with an injury designation. A source told ESPN that McElroy will undergo foot surgery this week after dealing with the injury during the offseason.

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Seattle Seahawks to face Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich on Nov. 13

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL’s first regular-season game in Germany.

The league revealed Wednesday the teams will play at 9:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 13 at Allianz Arena, home of FC Bayern Munich.

The NFL also announced the three 9:30 a.m. ET games that will be played in London next season. The New Orleans Saints will face the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 2 and the Green Bay Packers will play the New York Giants on Oct. 9 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will play the Denver Broncos on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium.

In addition, the league stated the Arizona Cardinals will play the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 21 in a Monday Night Football game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City; it will be the fourth NFL game played at that stadium. (The Oakland Raiders beat the Houston Texans 27-20 in 2016, the New England Patriots beat the Raiders 33-8 in 2017, and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 in 2019.)

The Chiefs were arranged to play the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City in 2019 but the game was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions.

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Arizona lost its lone international matchup in 2017 33-0 to the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London. The 49ers are 2-0 in international games, beating Denver 24-10 in 2010 and Jacksonville 42-10 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Bucs will be seeking their first victory playing outside the United States.

They’re 0-3 in their three games played in London, losing to the Patriots 35-7 in 2009, the Chicago Bears 24-18 in 2011, and the Carolina Panthers 37-26 in 2019.

This will mark the Seahawks’ third international regular-season game in franchise history. They beat the Buffalo Bills in Toronto in 2012 and the Oakland Raiders in London in 2018.

The Seahawks have a German-born player in linebacker Aaron Donkor, who was allocated to Seattle last year as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. Donkor is from Achern, about 200 miles west of Munich, and spent the 2021 season on Seattle’s practice squad. The Seahawks received another roster exemption for Donkor this week.

The NFL revealed in February that it will play four games in Germany over the next four seasons, two apiece in Munich and Frankfurt.

The Packers were the lone team to have never played in an international game. The Giants are 2-0 overseas, beating the Miami Dolphins 13-10 in the NFL’s first international game played in 2007 at Wembley Stadium and beating the Rams 17-10 in 2016 at Twickenham Stadium.

“Our fan base in the U.K. has always been extremely loyal and passionate,” Giants chief commercial officer Pete Guelli said. “The organization has had two memorable games in front of the London fans, and we look forward to engaging with them leading up to the game this fall.”

The Saints are 2-0 in London, defeating the San Diego Chargers 37-32 in 2006 and the Miami Dolphins 20-0 in 2017 at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium and the Cleveland Browns 33-16 in 2017 at Twickenham Stadium.

This will be the ninth time the Jaguars will have played a game outside the United States, which is more than any other team. The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami have each played five international games.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft tight end, but GM says that won’t affect potential Rob Gronkowski return

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did select a tight end to start the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday — taking Washington’s Cade Otton with the 106th overall pick — general manager Jason Licht stated that would not affect the status of Rob Gronkowski, who remains undecided about playing in 2022.

“I’m still giving him that time,” Licht said Friday night prior to the Buccaneers’ selection.

“We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that; the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”

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Speaking from his “Gronk Beach” party at the NFL draft in Las Vegas, Gronkowski told TMZ that he was still undecided on his future but that the Buccaneers are the only team he would contemplate playing for next season.

“It’s just the Bucs,” Gronkowski said. “Love that organization, man. Love the guys there. It’s family over there.”

Gronkowski is still living in Tampa, Florida, and has worked out at the Buccaneers’ facility this offseason two days per week to stay in shape.

Otton, who had 695 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 39 matches for the Huskies, helps offset not only the potential loss of Gronkowski but also the loss of former first-round draft pick O.J. Howard, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Leonard Fournette reach 3-year, $21 million deal

Running back Leonard Fournette, who spent Monday visiting with the New England Patriots, is re-signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a three-year, $21 million deal, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

The deal involves $11 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN’s Jenna Laine, and it could reach $24 million with incentives.

The Buccaneers are also nearing a one-year contract with defensive end William Gholston, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Gholston, who had a career-high 4.5 sacks last season, had interest from other teams but wanted to chase another Super Bowl with the Buccaneers.

Fournette ranked sixth among all NFL running backs with 1,266 yards from scrimmage, averaging a career-best 4.5 yards per carry, when the Bucs placed him on injured reserve with a hamstring injury after Week 15. He missed the wild-card game and returned for the Bucs’ divisional-round loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

After signing his second one-year deal with the Bucs last offseason, Fournette, 27, rushed for 812 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns (eight in the regular season). He also caught 69 passes for 454 yards.

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His best game came in Week 12, when Fournette, in addition to delivering a memorable halftime speech when the Bucs fell behind, rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and had seven receptions for 31 yards versus the Colts.

The last of his four touchdowns in that 38-31 victory was a 28-yard run with 29 seconds left.

Fournette earned the nickname “Playoff Lenny” — and later, “Lombardi Lenny” — while leading the Bucs with 448 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns in a postseason run to Super Bowl LV, where he rushed for 135 yards as Tampa Bay beat the Kansas City Chiefs.

After backing up Ronald Jones for the majority of the 2020 season — an experience that he and the coaching staff believe humbled him and helped prolong his career — Fournette seized the opportunity when Jones was sidelined for the final few weeks of the season by injuries and a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Fournette was the fourth overall pick in 2017 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who declined to pick up his fifth-year option and released him after the 2019 season.

After a difficult 2018 season in which he was on the bench in crunch time, fined and criticized, Fournette responded with his best season statistically with the Jaguars in 2019, rushing for a career-best 1,152 yards and catching 76 passes for 522 yards with three total touchdowns.

He has 3,810 rushing yards with 31 rushing touchdowns and 239 receptions for 1,696 yards and four TD catches in 63 career regular-season games.

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Tom Brady returning to Buccaneers to play 23rd season in NFL

Tom Brady’s retirement lasted 40 days.

Brady stated Sunday he’s returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd NFL season.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion revealed his decision on Twitter and Instagram, saying he has “unfinished business.” The news stole the spotlight from the NCAA’s Selection Sunday.

“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.”

Brady led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title following the 2020 season and NFC South championship last season. He teamed with coach Bill Belichick to win six Super Bowls during 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.

The 44-year-old Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) in 2021, but the Buccaneers lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round.

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“Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship.” 

Brady cited his wish to spend more time with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and three children when he decided to walk away from the game on Feb. 1. But he changed his mind about staying home, a day after attending the Manchester United match versus Tottenham Hotspur. Brady sat with the Glazer Family, who own Manchester United and the Buccaneers.

His reversal sent shock waves throughout the sports world, and his teammates and Buccaneers fans reacted with jubilation.

All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs called it “unreal.” Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin shared their joy in emojis.

Giants safety Logan Ryan said Brady’s return is “good for football.” Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey tweeted: “THANK YOU! throw that last touchdown on somebody else.”

Brady’s decision comes right before the NFL free agency period begins. The Bucs have several key players set to hit the open market: running back Leonard Fournette, cornerback Carton Davis, safety Jordan Whitehead, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Gronkowski and others.

They kept one of those key players when Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen agreed to a three-year contract late Sunday night, his agent Mike McCartney said on Twitter. 

Brady’s return should impact their decisions and the team’s plans. Tampa’s odds for winning the Super Bowl went from 25:1 to 7 1/2:1, tied with Green Bay for second-best behind Buffalo at 7:1, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

“We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days.

Brady has won three NFL MVP awards, been a first-team All-Pro three times and selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times. He is 243-73 in his career in the regular season and 35-12 in the playoffs. He’s back to build on all those numbers.

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Tom Brady officially announces retirement after ‘thrilling ride’ with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has officially announced his retirement from the NFL, saying Tuesday in an Instagram post that he is “not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.”

“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady said in his statement on Instagram.

“There is a physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.

“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.

I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”

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Brady, 44, widely considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history, acquired seven Lombardi trophies, the most championships won by a single player, along with five Super Bowl MVPs.

He rewrote much of the NFL record book with personal and team accomplishments.

He piled up career records such as most touchdown passes (624) and most passing yards (84,250) in his 22 seasons — of which 20 were with the New England Patriots.

“My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs,” Brady said in his statement.

“When you’re in it every day, you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against — the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep. I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”

Brady, who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl title last season and NFC South championship this season, has been adamant for weeks that he never wanted a “farewell season,” sources told ESPN.

Sources told ESPN on Saturday that Brady had decided to retire, but Brady’s family and the Bucs had said that a final decision had not been reached.

On Monday, Brady said on his SiriusXM podcast that he wasn’t ready to finalize his plans.

After 20 seasons with New England that had already cemented his legacy, Brady joined the Bucs in March 2020 and immediately added another chapter to his story with a seventh Super Bowl title — the first acquired by a team in its own stadium.

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