Last offseason, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kendell Beckwith broke his ankle in a car accident that cost him the entire 2018 season.
And it’s looking like it may cost him the 2019 season, as well.
Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht was asked about Beckwith’s status during a press conference on Tuesday.
His response was discouraging, to say the least.
“He’s not cleared to practice. I know that I’ve been telling you guys were going to have an update for you, we’re just – for a while now we’re going through the final evaluations for that,” Licht told reporters. “Kendell’s working with our staff, specialists around the country and we’re working towards an evaluation to give you an update here shortly.”
Beckwith’s injury comes after a promising rookie season in 2017 that saw him play 80% of defensive snaps. The large chunk of playing time resulted in 73 combined tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. Beckwith’s 73 tackles were the fourth-most among rookie linebackers in 2017.
He also saw time at the MIKE position (he was primarily the SAM in 2017) when Kwon Alexander was hurt and at the WILL when Lavonte David was injured, as well.
While there is still a chance he could play this year, it doesn’t look promising.
Jason Licht was again asked about LB Kendell Beckwith, who has not been cleared to practice from ankle injury suffered in a car accident last spring. Said he's getting checked by specialists across the country. Still doesn't look good for him playing this season, but no word yet.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 16, 2019
This is very disappointing news for a player who showed a lot of promise early on. Injuries hit the Bucs hard at linebacker in 2018 and they just lost Kwon Alexander to the San Francisco 49ers in free agency - which heightens the need for Beckwith’s return.
It’s uncertain as to whether or not Beckwith’s injury will affect the draft, either. A unit once stocked with talent is now rather bare as the new season begins.
“I don’t know if it totally affects the draft,” Licht said. “If you don’t have a player like Kendall, if you don’t think he’s going to be ready, Kendall’s a very good player, so I don’t know if it affects the draft or not.”
Regardless of the unknown, there is one thing that is certain: the Bucs need Beckwith to get healthy - and fast.