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September 26, 2011 @ 11:28 am
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Bucs May Lose Grimm For The Year With Knee Injury

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The Buccaneers beat the Falcons, 16-13, on Sunday, but may have lost free safety Cody Grimm in the process. Grimm's right knee was hit by the helmet of teammate Geno Hayes, causing the second-year safety to injure his MCL, and possibly his ACL. He will be replaced in the lineup by either Corey Lynch or Larry Asante.

The Buccaneers’ 16-13 win over the Falcons didn’t come without a price as Tampa Bay may have lost free safety Cody Grimm for the year with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).

“We don’t know the extent of that yet,” Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said of a St. Petersburg Times report that Grimm had torn his ACL. “He’s definitely getting an MRI. I know his MCL (medial collateral ligament) is messed up and he’s got some other stuff that we are checking on right now. It may not be for the year. We’re not sure of that yet. We’ll get back to you on that.”

Morris said that fourth-year veteran Corey Lynch and first-year player Larry Asante will battle to take over as the team’s starting free safety on Monday night when the Bucs host the Indianapolis Colts.

“We have Corey Lynch, who we feel great about winning the game and finishing the game for us yesterday,” Morris said. “We also have Larry Asante, who has been standing over there with a baseball cap for a little while because of special teams. We’ve liked [rookie safety Devin] Holland on special teams. We’ll let those two guys – Larry and Corey – battle this week and play. You guys know me. I can play any one of them or both of them any kind of way. We’ll get both of those guys out there competing in practice.”

Grimm injured his right knee with 5:55 left in the third quarter when the helmet of linebacker Geno Hayes hit the safety’s leg as both Buccaneers were attempting to tackle running back Michael Turner.

“Geno is going through the battery of tests mandated by the NFL for the concussion,” Morris said, indicating that Quincy Black or Adam Hayward could replace Hayes at weakside linebacker if he is unable to play against Indianapolis. “He bumped his head yesterday and we’ll see where he is.”

The hit was reminiscent of the friendly fire incident that caused former wide receiver Joe Jurevicius to miss most of the 2003 season with ligament damage after fullback Mike Alstott ran into Jurevicius’ knee. That collision also hurt Alstott’s neck, causing the Pro Bowler to be placed on injured reserve.

Against Atlanta, Grimm notched two tackles and had one pass defensed. Coming into Sunday’s game, Grimm totaled 13 tackles on the year.

This marks the second significant leg injury for Grimm, who was placed on injured reserve last year after the Baltimore game in which broke his left ankle in Tampa Bay’s 17-10 loss to the Ravens. That caused him to miss the final five weeks of the season.

Grimm had a solid rookie campaign for the Buccaneers in 2010, recording 61 tackles, two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and two passes defensed. Grimm got the starting nod at free safety in Week 3 after Tanard Jackson was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

As he was during the final five contests of the 2010 season, Lynch will likely replace in the lineup. Lynch picked off Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan for his lone interception last year while recording 24 tackles and two pass breakups. In relief of Grimm in Sunday’s victory over Atlanta, Lynch recorded two tackles and broke up one pass.

“Just a sad way to go and my prayers are out with him,” Lynch said of Grimm. “I will be praying for him for a quick recovery.

“Cody came in from college and really had very little safety experience and for him to do what he has done it’s just incredible. My thoughts go out to him and just a sad day for the Bucs.”

Lynch is known more for his pass coverage skills, but showed he improved his ability to deliver hits in coverage and play in the box against the run during the 2011 preseason. Stuffing the run was one of Grimm’s strengths, but he did not make any splash plays through the first two and half games of the 2011 season, and was slowed in training camp by soreness in his right leg.

“I had 450 tackles in college or whatever it was, so I can tackle,” Lynch said. “I’m just ready to go. … [The decision on who starts] is not up to me. I just go out and play hard every week and see who plays.”

Asante, who is on the 53-man roster, but was inactive for the first three games of the 2011 regular season despite promising play in the preseason will be active this week along with Holland, a rookie special teams.

“I really don’t know how the coaches are going to go about the situation,” Asante said. “Whoever they decide to put in that starting role—that’s on the coaches and I trust my coaches. We will see what the coaches decide to do.”

Asante recorded one tackle and one interception in the 2010 season finale victory at New Orleans after being plucked from Cleveland's practice squad late in the year.

“That playing time last year, it boosts your confidence up to get in there and actually be in there with live bullets playing against Drew Brees,” Asante said. “That was definitely quality reps and I gained a lot of experience from that. So that is going to help a lot, absolutely."

The Bucs also have Ahmad Black, the team’s fifth-round draft pick in 2011, on the practice squad.

There is also a chance the Bucs could get Jackson, a fourth-year veteran and former starter at free safety, back this year. Jackson was eligible to apply for reinstatement from his suspension last Thursday, but there have been no updates about the status of his potential return thus far from the NFL, the Buccaneers or Jackson’s camp.

“That’s really a league matter,” Morris said, while not providing any update on Jackson’s situation during Monday’s press conference. “I’m sure Mark Dominik is doing his due diligence and whatever he needs to do for that. For me, I’ve got to control the product on the field and the guys in the locker room. That’s what I’m really concerned with.”

The 26-year old safety has been a big-time playmaker for Tampa Bay, recording eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns in 2009, five forced fumbles and 24 passes defensed since he entered the league in 2007 as the Bucs’ fourth-round pick. Jackson’s five interceptions despite missing the first four games of the 2009 season tied Aqib Talib for the most picks on the team that year.

Jackson is in the last year of his contract, as 2010, in which he played in just two games, did not count as an accrued season towards free agency.

Last modified on Monday, 26 September 2011 11:38

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    Terrible about Cody....seems to be a great and tougfh kid. I was excited he made it back...maybe he was a step slow but I think that was improving. Now all we can do is wish him a speedy recovery. Best wishes young man. Next man up!! Okay, Lynch did a decent job Sunday. Matty Ice immediately started picking on him as he should have. I thought the young man stood up well. He stepped into a tough place....Falcons driving..momentum on their side...and he didn't blink. Great break up down close. It will be interesting to see who wins the battle in practice. Assante has looked fair when I have seen him, still other teams will start targeting whoever we start out there. Oh, Foster looks like he can make the calls too. Black may have lost his helmet. And I thought Watson looked pretty quick out there. May be an up and comer. GO BUCS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Does anybody know if they can really black out Monday nights game? I don't see how a nationally televised game on ESPN can be blacked out???
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    Tampa needs to go out and find a veteran safety to come in for Grimm and Fillin for certain times of the games. GO Bucs.
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    Lynch will do fine and may turn out to be an upgrade over time. I hope Grimm comes through it ok. As to Tjax, I would speculate that it is not necessarily a failed drug test, but more likely he didn't complete the classes/therapy or other protocol mandated by the league to qualify to be considered for reinstatement. The total silence on this matter is not a good sign for him returning anytime soon. The Bucs will go with the options they have now and not look back.
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    I have watched Corey Lynch as he has developed since he came to the Bucs and have seen a lot of parallels to the development of our All-Pro Lynch who will likely be in the Hall of Fame, as I followed his progress at safety from when he was drafted out of Standford. If Corey gets to play out the rest of this year as a starter, I think his timely save on the pass breakup in the endzone in the Atlanta game, will be just the beginning of his development into a top tier fixture for the Bucs at Safety. It took All-Pro Lynch about three years to really become the super safety we all remember. I wish Grimm the best, but I, too, have doubts about him fully recovering to his first form last year. TJack must have messed up for him not to be mentioned to fill this hole at safety. Raheem would be prevented by privacy concerns from saying TJack flunked another drug test, if he did, I would think. Not to worry Corey can fill the bill; just watch! As soon as Grimm goes on medical leave, his spot should be filled by promoting Ahmad Black so nobody steals him from the practice squad. That kid will be a great one too!
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    It would be a shame to lose Grimm for the year. He was playing much better in the third game, compared to the first two. Asante and Lynch should play well in his place.
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    I hate to say it, but this might be a career ender. Grimm was already a little slow and timid coming off his last leg injury, and this sounds much worse. Torn MCL and ACL is no joke. Even if Grimm recovers physically, Im worried he will never recover mentally. I hope Im wrong though, the kid flashed some really good signs and was a nice story. Next man up!
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