Four-game suspensions rarely come at a good time, but for Bucs cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, the timing wasn’t terrible.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter revealed on Monday that Adjei-Barimah suffered an undisclosed injury in Kansas City, one that coincided with his four-game suspension for a banned substance, therefore flying completely under the radar from a media standpoint.

Bucs CB Jude Adjei-Barimah - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs CB Jude Adjei-Barimah – Photo by: Getty Images

Adjei-Barimah, who started the first 10 games of the season as the Bucs starting nickel back, was back in the building Monday after a difficult four weeks not being with his teammates or training at “his second home,” One Buc Place.

“It’s extremely tough,” the second-year pro said of serving a suspension. “We prepare so hard every year to come in here and play 16 games. To have an unfortunate situation happen, where I miss four games, not only is it bad for me individually but also the team. It’s not a position you want to be in as an individual or as a teammate. But you just have to put stuff like this behind you, move forward and try to do the best you can.”

He may have moved forward now that the suspension is over, but Adjei-Barimah said he researched the banned substance to get to the “bottom of what happened.” He explained what he could, legally, for what led to the league’s decision.

“I took a natural product that was contaminated,” Adjei-Barimah said. “Legally, right now, that’s all I’m able to tell you. Once I find out more as things move I’ll be able to say more, but right now, that’s what happened. It’s an unfortunate situation, but at the same time the league is real strict with the rules and that’s just how it works.”

Before his suspension, Adjei-Barimah recorded 22 tackles and two sacks in the Bucs nickel package. Once the suspension commenced, the Bucs moved starting cornerback Vernon Hargreaves inside for the occasional nickel formation and brought Alterraun Verner in to play on the outside. After a strong start against the Saints in Week 12 (two pass breakups and an INT), Verner struggled the following week and was benched in favor of Javien Elliott in San Diego.

CB Vernon Hargreaves and Javien Elliott – Photo by: Mark Lomgolio/PR

CB Vernon Hargreaves and Javien Elliott – Photo by: Mark Lomgolio/PR

The undrafted rookie from Florida State has four tackles over the last two games, and Adjei-Barimah is proud of his teammate’s progression.

“He’s playing amazing,” Adjei-Barimah said. “From the first day he got here, I told him, ‘There’s going to be a time in the season when your number is going to be called,’ and if you’re ready it’s a great opportunity. Watching him develop from the time he got here, and now watching him make plays – it’s awesome.”

As far as his own next opportunity, Adjei-Barimah said it’s up to the doctors and trainers to determine when he can return, though Koetter didn’t sound too optimistic on Monday. For now, the former undrafted pro is just happy to be welcomed into the facility.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: [email protected]
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Garv
Garv
5 years ago

This sounds suspicious to me. Strange that he happened to get hurt right when his suspension started and still is. Maybe the Buccaneers feel they need to keep the roster as is going into New Orleans? Might need another DL player to take the place of Gholston?

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Put him on IR; it’s just for two games. We really have two concerns to deal with; Right Tackle if Dotson is not going to be cleared, and Gholston who has a wounded wing and I don’t see where he could be effective at this point in time. Go Bucs!

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

I’d sure like to know how Elliott is starting at nickle over Verner. only thought is that Verner is the back-up on the outside and Elliott is the back-up nickle. Puzzling. Perhaps the all-knowing Naples can offer an explanation.