By Kyra Hallett
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost defensive end and 2011 first draft pick Adrian Clayborn for the year. He will need knee surgery to repair a torn ligament.
The injury occurred when the Bucs faced the Dallas Cowboys Sunday. As the Bucs’ defense went in to sack Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for the fourth time, Clayborn got mixed up in the play, injuring his knee in the third quarter. He was carted off the field and did not return. Clayton will have surgery in a few weeks and has been placed on the injured reserve list.
Last year as a rookie, Clayborn led the team in sacks with 7.5 and played in all 16 games. He also had 29 solo tackles and three forced fumbles.
The player that likely would have replaced him, defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, is still out with his injured Achilles tendon. Bowers said he will be ready in about four weeks and is eligible after Week Six. He feels that it will be more of a mental thing than a physical issue.
Defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim replaced Clayborn in the game. Defensive end George Johnson is listed as his back-up on the depth chart, but has been inactive the last few games. Head coach Greg Schiano said that Johnson has done well and so has Te’o-Nesheim. He also said that they are working on a replacement, which could come internally or from somewhere else. They could also go with a three-man defensive front. Schiano added that the team needs to adapt.
Although Schiano is familiar with Johnson (he played for Schiano at Rutgers), Johnson has played in only four NFL games.
This is the second core lineman the Bucs have lost in the last month. Earlier, it was guard Davin Joseph, a spot the Bucs filled internally.
Two players that are going to miss Clayborn are defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Bennett. Both have three sacks apiece for the year.
Bennett would rather stay in his position at left defensive end, though he said he will do whatever is asked of him to help the team win. He is one of the most versatile players on the team and could be used in many ways. He not only has the three sacks this year, but also two forced fumbles and four sacks last season.
The Bucs line will also definitely miss Clayborn. Clayborn has an explosiveness off the line and has a way of making plays.
The Bucs also was waived wide receiver Jordan Shipley and signed ex-Bills wide receiver Roscoe Parrish Tuesday. Parish is a veteran receiver and returner who ran back punts and kick-offs with his seven years in Buffalo. He averaged 12 yards on punts and 23.6 yards on kickoffs. Shipley played in one game for the Bucs, Sunday versus Dallas. In that game, he dropped a punt, which lead to a Cowboys’ field goal.
The Bucs have lost some key players, but they have been able to replace them so far. They are lucky they have depth with talented players. The Bucs will miss Clayborn, but will have to move on.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.