Of all the excitement had about the Bucs returning all 22 of their starters, let’s not forget that they’re getting O.J. Howard back as well.

The very talented tight end missed the rest of the 2020 season after suffering an Achilles injury in a Week 4 win over the Chargers. He’s another weapon in a star-studded lineup that Tom Brady will have at his disposal this season.

Howard was a guest on the Pat McAfee show on Tuesday, where he explained how the Achilles tear occurred.

“My teammate Ke’Shawn Vaughn scored his first career touchdown, so it was loud,” Howard said. “It was a big touchdown in the game, so I didn’t hear anything. I just felt it, it felt like a guy kicked me. So I went to the sideline and turned around looking like ‘who kicked me? I tripped up’. When I got to the sideline I told the trainers that somebody kicked me in the back of my foot and he was like ‘nobody was around you on that play, Juice’. I was like ‘damn’.”

When that first instance of an Achilles injury went into his mind, Howard couldn’t help but think of two prolific NBA players that suffered the same injury: the late Hall Of Famer Kobe Bryant and superstar forward Kevin Durant.

“I remember what Kobe said, [what] Kevin Durant said,” Howard said. “I knew then what it was. It was just like that, like somebody shoots you or kicked you in the back of the leg.”

As hard as that situation was, Howard is back on the mend. He stated that he’s in month eight of a nine-month recovery and is even running close to full speed at the moment. The surgical process itself stood out, with the procedure taking less than half an hour.

“Everything’s going good,” Howard said. “I’m 90 percent right now. The recovery is going well, I’m just grinding and rehabbing every day, so it’s going really good. The whole process – it was COVID so I wanted to go to Green Bay and go with Dr. Andrews, but I talked to him.

“He was like ‘Nowadays, this surgery, guys will bounce back 100 percent. If there’s a doctor you trust that can do it, go with him. You can come to me, but with COVID, you don’t really have to. A lot of people know how to do the surgery’. It was only a 20-minute surgery. I was in there 20 minutes, came out and went home the same day. It’s a six-to-nine month recovery. I’m on month eight, I’m running full speed, 90 percent, so it’s going along really well.”

You can watch the full episode of the Pat McAfee show, including the entire segment with Howard, right here.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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Mike Pengelly
27 days ago

Adding Howard to Brate and Gronk, we have a great tight end group which further complements our receiver corps…look out rivals, here we come !! 35+ pts per game is definite possibility.

Naplesfan
27 days ago

Good, this means that OJ should be able to participate in training camp at near 100 percent, and barring any reinjury should be good to go for the season opener in September. I don’t expect OJ to get anywhere near the number of targets that a Kelce or Whittle get in their respective offenses, because we have so many other very good pass catchers amongst our wide receivers, tight ends, and now running backs too. But his blocking will come in very handy in protecting Tom Brady and the overall passing game, no matter who gets the target. And I… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  Naplesfan
27 days ago

How do you know OJ will be ready for training camp?

Charlie
27 days ago

No more doinks OJ! Let’s make some contested catches buddy.

Horse
27 days ago

Well at least I have some of my questions answered and thank you PR. Okay so after 9 months OJ can Start Regular Football Training? Start Hitting/Pushing the Sledges? Start Blocking 1 on 1? Start Team Blocking? Start Passing Catching Routes? So does anybody know the Timeframe of being ready to play Regular Season Games? My guess is a few games into the Season?