After a disappointing debut in pewter and red during his first season in Tampa Bay, Bucs guard Logan Mankins spoke to general manager Jason Licht following the 2014 season, vowing to bounce back.
A beardless Mankins came to Tampa last spring in great shape, with a renewed passion, a desire to be a leader and promise to return to the Pro Bowl. Mankins accomplished all of those goals in 2015, much to the delight of the Buccaneers.
But on Monday, Mankins, one of the team’s five captains, told the Buccaneers that he will not return this season, ending a 11-year career that included seven Pro Bowl appearances, six first or second team All-Pro awards, and two Super Bowl appearences.
“It is always difficult losing a player of Logan’s caliber both on the field and in the locker room,” said Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. “He is one of the toughest, most intelligent and skilled players at his position that I have seen in my years around this game. Logan distinguished himself as the ultimate professional over his 11-year career and he was an unquestioned leader for us over the past two seasons. His leadership, work ethic and selflessness played a key role in the development of our younger players and he set the standard which we use to evaluate all of our offensive linemen.”
Bucs LG Logan Mankins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Mankins arrived in Tampa on the eve of the team’s final preseason game in 2014 after being traded from the Patriots to the Buccaneers in exchange for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth round draft pick, after declining to take a pay cut in New England. Mankins was caught off guard by the trade after spending 10 seasons protecting Tom Brady and being part of one of the most successful franchises over the last several years. Moving from the cooler climate of New England to the brutal August and September heat of Tampa was a shock to Mankins and took him a season to get acclimated.
Mankins, one of the toughest players in the NFL, started 31 of 32 games for the Buccaneers, and missed just eight games during his career since joining the league in 2005 as a rookie from Fresno State. Mankins started 161 games in the NFL since being drafted in 2005, most of any offensive lineman during that span, according to ESPN.
With the departure of Mankins the Bucs now have a void on their offensive line, one that was much improved over the 2014 version. The good news, as previously reported by PewterReport.com, is the Bucs believe third-year player Kevin Pamphile could be ready to step into that role this season. The decision by Mankins to step away from football may alter the Bucs plans in both free agency and the upcoming draft, although Licht and his front office knew this was a possibility and most likely have been preparing for Mankins’ retirement.
And with a cap savings of $7 million, the Buccaneers will have plenty of money to look via free agency for a replacement, whether it be in the starting lineup or as additional depth.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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