When Tampa Bay defensive tackle Brian Price dropped to his knees clutching his hamstring in Sunday’s Lions game, most assumed the worst. After spending the offseason rehabbing from a serious pelvic and hamstring injury, and what head coach Raheem Morris has described as having his hamstrings ripped off and reattached, it was a tough sight to see.
But not only was the injury just a minor setback, Morris said today in his post-practice daily news conference, the second-year defensive tackle will get the start Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Brian Price looked good (in practice today)” Morris said. “He will get his first NFL start this week. He did a nice job last week and really played well. He will get the chance to get out there and get some more snaps in.”
Technically, Price got his first NFL start in the season opener as he was in the defensive package alongside defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the first snap of the team’s 27-20 loss to Detroit. Aside from getting the start at Minnesota, Morris mentioned that Price would see more snaps after recording two tackles and one tackle for loss while splitting time at nose tackle with Roy Miller and Frank Okam.
“We will still use our normal rotation,” Morris said. “I want to keep those guys fresh. I want those guys to have the ability to go out there and be strong, and be tough and fight as a unit. But he has certainly earned the [right] to go out there and play first this week. I’m really proud of where he is at and what he is doing for us. Especially from where he has come from.”
Morris talked about how Price graded out against Detroit.
“He flashed not just a little bit … his get-off was very noticeable,” Morris said. “I believe he had a tackle for loss. He was very active. He was very hands-on. He did things at a high level.”
While the initial reaction to Price being on the ground on Sunday was that he re-injured his surgically-repaired hamstrings, Morris said the Florida heat and humidity played a factor.
“Probably more fear from being what he has been through,” Morris said. “I’m sure it was just a cramp. But when you have both your hamstrings hammered on and ripped out with construction tools, then put back together over the summer, those cramps on Sunday seem a little bit scarier for you – especially with that kid.
“He’s ready to go, though. He is getting better. He’s strong, he’s fast. He certainly is fighting through it. He is almost at that point we talked about a couple months ago when I said he had a couple more weeks to go. And [now] he is getting there.”