The Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization still is in a state of shock after learning of the passing of Bucs kicker Matt Bryant's youngest son, Tryson, who died on Wednesday morning.
Bryant missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday to be with his wife Melissa and the rest of the couple's family as they continue to grieve.
Tryson was born on June 16. Although details were not immediately available, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden suggested on Wednesday afternoon that Tryson's death was unexpected.
"I don't have many details, but from what I understand the young man just didn't wake up this morning," Gruden said. "It's shocking, but again, I don't have any more details than that."
The Buccaneers have shown their support for Bryant. At the conclusion of Wednesday afternoon's practice, the entire team took a knee and held a prayer for the Bryant family.
Bucs punter Josh Bidwell, who is good friends with Bryant, visited the Bryant family on Wednesday and expressed thanks to all of those who have shown support over the past day.
"It was a pretty long and tough day," said Bidwell. "They're a really great family. You'd be proud of them. I'm very proud of them and I'm proud of the support they've gotten from the friends in the neighborhood and the team, from top to bottom. It's extremely difficult to be around this situation, but I couldn't imagine a better response to it.
"Guys have tried to not overwhelm them. There have been quite a few guys that have gone over there to say hello, and there have been other guys that have sent messages in an attempt to respect their privacy. It couldn't be more perfect the way this Buccaneer family has handled it."
Bidwell has two young sons of his own and faced his own adversity as a testicular cancer survivor, but it pales in comparison to the personal tragedy the Bryant family is dealing with.
"To try to walk one of your best friends through something that is your worst nightmare is pretty hard to do and pretty surreal," said Bidwell. "But he'd be there for me and do the exact same things I've done."
The Bucs are not sure whether Bryant will be able to play vs. the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
In the meantime, the Bucs are attempting to go about business in preparation for their upcoming game.
Gruden said the Bucs had contingency plans in place, including the possibility of signing another kicker or using second-year safety Sabby Piscitelli, who is the team's emergency kicker, in that role on Sunday.
"There's a lot of things that could happen if you want to get into the possibilities," Gruden said. "Right now we will have a contingency plan. We will have a plan if Matt can't kick. Right not I don't feel like talking about it because we're still much in support of our guy. If we have to deal with signing a kicker then we will. Right now it's not a part of our plan.
"Sabby will have to kick if we have to go that route. We'll have a plan. Right now, we're very much supporting our kicker, our friend. We will have a contingency plan if we have to. It's a tough situation."
Should Bryant not be able to play vs. the Packers, the Bucs could sign free agent kicker Shane Andrus, according to ESPN's Pat Yasinskas. Andrus kicked collegiately at Murray State and has spent the past two preseasons with the Colts and Giants.
The Bucs don't know if Bryant will play, but they will support him in whatever decision he makes.
"We do have a job to do and we're going to be ready to do that," said Bidwell. "But we definitely know what's important in life, and in this situation it's taking care of Matt and his family and helping them get through this.
"It's hard to say [if Bryant will play]. He's got to do what he needs to do to heal. To be honest with you, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him try to get out there, but I wouldn't fault him in any way if he just couldn't be out there. Something like this would take time for a lot of people. I'm proud of him either way."
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tryson's name to March of Dimes.
March of Dimes 405 North Reo Street Suite 105 Tampa, Fl 33609 (81) 287-2600