The Bucs received a big blow on the injury front on Monday as starting center Jeff Faine is expected to miss several weeks due to an injured left triceps, which occurred in the fourth quarter of Tampa Bay's 34-21 season-opening loss to Dallas.
That injury has prompted the Bucs to turn to re-signing center Sean Mahan. Early on Monday sources told Pewter Report that they expect Mahan to sign with the team soon. The team announced in the afternoon that they had re-signed Mahan.
“Jeff Faine has a strained trained triceps and he’ll be out a few weeks,” Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said. “There is no surgery to be required,” Morris said. “I would hate to say it’s a toughness deal with him, but it’s not all toughness. There is a certain time limit to, but it’s just a few weeks. It all depends on when he can go and get that thing the right way.”
Morris said that Faine's loss will be felt on offense, which rolled up 450 yards on Sunday, including 174 yards on the ground.
“Just his intensity with him starting the game – he fires me up just looking at him,” Morris said. “He has all the knowledge. You know how smart he is. You know how well prepared he is and how good of a professional he is. That’s exactly what he is. He’s a pro. He’s a professional athlete. He treats his job like a professional. He teaches his room how to be professional. That’s a huge loss.”
Backup Jonathan Compas, who replaced Faine in the fourth quarter and finished the game for Tampa Bay, remains one of the options to replace Faine if the team cannot agree to terms with Mahan.
“We’re going to look on our roster and off our roster,” Morris said. “Compas came in and finished the game for us yesterday, obviously. We’ve got guys on the roster, and we’ve got guys off the roster that we’ve got to look at and keep an eye on.”
While the rookie center remains one of the possibilities to start for Tampa Bay, the Bucs are considering other options, including left guard Jeremy Zuttah, who has practiced at center.
“He’s one of the guys that we’ve talked about as one of our emergency guys,” Morris said. “Zuttah has played some center for us and Marc Dile has played some center for us. We have some options."
Mahan was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in 2003. After four seasons with the Bucs, Mahan signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. Just before the 2008 season Mahan was traded back to the Buccaneers to serve as Faine's backup. Mahan has played in 88 contests and started 52 games for the Bucs and Steelers in his career.
Tampa Bay cut Mahan on September 2 in order to keep a Compas, a younger developmental player, on the roster. Mahan visited with the Oakland Raiders after being cut, but did not sign with them.
In other injury news, Zuttah is dealing with an injury of his own, an ankle ailment, but he's listed as day-to-day and told Pewter Report he was fine on Monday. Wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee) will be monitored weekly, but should be able to play against Buffalo.
Along with signing Mahan, the team signed former Denver Broncos defensive end Tim Crowder. In 19 games Crowder has 26 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He was a second-round pick by Denver in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was released by the Broncos on Sep. 5. The Bucs tried to claim Crowder off waivers, but were unsuccessful in the waiver claim.
In order to make room on the roster for Crowder and Mahan, Tampa Bay released cornerback Kyle Arrington and defensive end Maurice Evans. The Buccaneers also released punter A.J. Trapasso from the practice squad.