The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bracing for brutal news in the early stages of training camp.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday morning, per sources, that, as the team awaits final word, the fear is Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen has suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles later told reporters that Jensen will miss at least several months due to a significant knee injury, but the team still does not know the specific severity of the injury, per The Athletic.
“Don’t know the severity of it, per se, but I do know he’ll miss some significant time, up to a couple of months,” Bowles said. “Whether he’s back later in the season, November, December, that depends on what they find in the knee. But he won’t be available anytime soon.”
On Thursday, Jensen was carted off the practice field after getting tangled up during a practice rep. The Pro Bowler chucked his helmet while prone on the turf, indicating the severity of the injury.
If he’s indeed done for the season, it’s a massive blow to Tom Brady and the Bucs. Jensen signed a three-year, $39 million contract in March to return as Brady’s pivot, hoping to solidify an interior offensive line that lost both guards from last season.
Now the Bucs are poised to break in three new interior blockers. Robert Hainsey, drafted in the third round last year, is the leading in-house candidate to replace Jensen at center.
Tampa could also look to add a veteran, with free-agent options including JC Tretter, Matt Paradis and Billy Price, among others.
Losing Jensen, and the toughness he brings to the interior, for the entire season is a rough way for the Bucs to start their quest to return to the Super Bowl. But we’ve seen Brady win with inexperienced centers in the past.
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