The Buccaneers guard position has taken a turn for the better after a report that guard Carl Nicks has been cleared to play football. The guard position has been a huge question mark in most people's mind over the last six months.
With the first workout of the Bucs 2014 training camp only days away, Bucs fans – and quarterback Josh McCown – appear to have received some great news as former All-Pro guard Carl Nicks has been cleared to play according to the Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings.
Cummings tweeted that “Nicks has been cleared to play” on Tuesday morning, but didn’t provide any more details.
The $47.5 million dollar question this spring has been the health of guard Carl Nicks, who has played in just nine games since signing as a free agent with the Buccaneers in 2012. Nicks suffered a toe injury during his first season in Tampa Bay, then last year, while still recovering, underwent a second surgery on the same foot to clean MRSA from a wound that reportedly started from a blister.
If in fact Nicks is able to suit up, the guard position, one that has been a question mark in most fans minds, would be in much better shape. However, being cleared to play and able to play effectively are two different things as Nicks admitted earlier this year at the team’s mandatory minicamp that pain will always be an issue and much will be determined based on his pain tolerance.
Nicks spoke to the media back in June.
“I think I will be able to play (this year),” Nicks said. “But it just the waiting game with me trying to get back out here.
“I think I will have a modified schedule, but I think I will be able to play football and that is what I am trying to do. There is always going to be pain, it is just how much I can deal with it. I have high tolerance for pain so I think I will be able to deal.”
Head coach Lovie Smith also talked about Nicks in June.
"As much as I know about it right now (June 10), Carl hasn’t been around as much as some of the other players, but he was here Monday when we had official physicals and he passed his physical," Smith said. "From there he has a long way to go. Like all of our players when they initially start working out with us. My expectations for Carl are the same as for everybody else. We’ll take it one day at a time. We’ll see where he is right now and we have a big break in between. No player has an injury that I’m really concerned about that is going to hinder them starting to work out when we come back. That includes Carl from what I know right now.”
Many expected the Buccaneers to target a guard early in last May’s NFL Draft but ended up not selecting one until the fifth round where they took Tennessee State guard Kadeem Edwards. The Buccaneers also added former Browns starter Oniel Cousins via free agency and also worked in second-year player Patrick Omameh and Jamon Meredith at the position with the first team during the offseason workouts.
Nicks told the media back in June that his summer vacation would be spent at One Buc Place.
“Over the next six weeks I will be here training, rehabbing when everyone else is vacationing,” Nicks said. “I will be just trying to get all these mental reps and basically to try and get ready for the field. So I will be here.”
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