Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy hasn't been healthy since week two of this season. The defensive tackle told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times that he tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. To make matters worse, he broke his hand three weeks ago and has played with a plate and screws in it, as well as a club on it, since then.
McCoy played through both of those injuries and was still reasonably effective, although it was also obvious he wasn't up to the standards of previous years. But the notion that he's been "soft" or "mentally weak" because he's dealing with injuries is ludicrous. He still has 7.5 sacks this year, but four of those game in the 3.5 games worth of playing time where he wasn't listed on any injury report. He's also been the key player in one of the league's best run defenses: opposing running backs have managed just 3.3 yards per carry against the Bucs, ranked 2nd in the league.
Bucs McCoy: "I love this team and I love this game and anything it takes to be out there, I’m going to do it. That' just me.''— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 23, 2015
There's no reason to believe that McCoy's injuries will present long-term problems for the defensive tackle, who signed a new, $98 million contract last season. Neither injury should threaten his long-term health or availability, and while they've affected his pass-rush moves this year, the explosiveness is still obvious on film.
Despite that, some Bucs fans have been calling for his trade or even outright release recently. Those notions were ridiculed by the fact that he was just named to the Pro Bowl by fans, coaches and players and rightly so: while McCoy is having a down year by his standards, he's still playing like one of the best defensive tackles in the league, and there's no reason to believe he won't be back to his usual self next season.