Following a 4-12 record last season—the fifth-worst in the league—Tampa Bay Bucs fans are hopeful for a better season. The team decided to go in a different direction and replace coach Raheem Morris with Greg Schiano, the former coach at Rutgers University. It’s a new beginning for the team, but the injury situation is keeping fans from getting too excited this season.
The topic of injuries in Tampa Bay can be a sore spot, no pun intended. It’s been a negative trend taking place in the organization over the last few seasons with guys going out with serious injuries and missing huge chunks of time. The injuries related to football have been under a microscope lately.
Past Bucs Players with Concussions, Lawsuits
Long-time Bucs fans remember the good and also the terrible days of the franchise. It seems like yesterday when the Bucs finally broke from their losing ways, made the playoffs for four consecutive years – and ended that run with a Super Bowl win in 2002.
However, it’s painful to see some of the past players in trouble. Recently Brad Culpepper and Charley Hannah filed lawsuits, adding to the list of former Bucs that have filed, including Scot Brantley, Randy Grimes and Ervin Randle.
In the report discussing these lawsuits, Culpepper mentions how the players weren’t given “full awareness” of the risks, citing the growing focus on concussions and the dangerous effects it can have. Suffering mini-strokes and the inability to see out of his left eye, Culpepper is another unfortunate example of one who has suffered such consequences. A number of former NFL players are having financial issues and some of the problems stem from an abundance of medical bills to deal with injuries suffered while playing. Having a good insurance plan is very important to help cover the cost of medical procedures and check-ups.
While the Bucs and other NFL teams can’t change the past, they can make a difference in today’s game by putting players through concussion tests, which are standardized. Hopefully today’s Bucs players won’t have as high of a chance of suffering these kinds of injuries that make functioning after football difficult.
Today’s Injury Woes
As we leave the highly-controversial backdrop of concussions, the Bucs are concerned with their current player’s health. The goal best case scenario is going through a full season avoiding any major injuries but isn’t an easy task, it’s nearly impossible with the speed and power of these athletes.
Da’Quan Bowers, the 22-year old starting defensive end, underwent surgery on May 11 after rupturing his right Achilles. Bower’s vow to return to the field in 2012 may be “too optimistic.” The type of injury Bower’s suffered traditional has a lengthy rehab and recovery period with setbacks along the way. Being young and determined to get back is helpful but the team will be careful not to rush him and risk further injuring it.
There may be a case of addition by subtraction taking place in Tampa with Kellen Winslow saying he’s as good as done with the Bucs. Winslow’s $4.8-million salary could open up room for the team to go after some other players. As a side note, the Bucs look to be the favorites to land one of Peyton Manning’s former favorite targets, Dallas Clark, who can hopefully excel despite injury woes of his own.
The Bucs need to get consistent play from their roster but in order for that to happen they need to be healthy and available to practice. Coach Schiano has been stressing the importance of players being available for the offseason training which is a good way to prepare the team for the upcoming season.