Retirement talk will loom large for several Bucs players after 30-27 loss to the Rams. Quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon will all weigh their futures. So will outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul who played through injury all season. Pierre-Paul, who just turned 33 years old, played the whole year with a torn rotator cuff.

“I don’t know,” Pierre-Paul said when asked if he wants to keep playing. “We’ll see after my surgery.”

Pierre-Paul finished the season with just 2.5 sacks, one of the least productive seasons of his career. The veteran tore his rotator cuff early in the season and played with a broken finger. Pierre-Paul was clearly not himself on tape, struggling each week. The Bucs rested the 12-year defender for the final month of the season, but Pierre-Paul didn’t look much better in the playoffs. Still, he showed a lot of heart being out there at all.

“Just hard work, man,” Pierre-Paul said. “Just putting in the rehab. Doing what everybody tells me to do. And doing the extra stuff. That was basically it. Torn rotator cuff is no joke. I’m an outside linebacker. That’s where everything – my push, my pull – everything as a pass rusher. But I think I did a pretty good job this year at finishing in the playoffs.

“But at the end of the day, we didn’t finish. Didn’t do what we needed to do. So hopefully next year, if I’m here next year.”

If Pierre-Paul hangs it up, he’d finish his career with 91.5 sacks. If he wants to return, it would likely be on a cheap one-year deal in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have next year’s starting outside linebackers in Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, but Pierre-Paul could serve as a valuable reserve. His leadership and energy in the locker room would be nice to have back. But after tons of injuries in his career, Pierre-Paul’s health looms large. That’ll be a big hurdle he needs to clear if he wants to return to the field.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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fredster
fredster
4 months ago

He should retire imo.

drdneast
drdneast
4 months ago

I respect the hell out of JPP but he had no business being on that field on Sunday. He was a detriment to the team. I’m not against having him here next year with incentive laden money if he can fully recover from his rotator cuff surgery. I have absolutely no idea what the coaches were thinking.

bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

JPP is done! Great player for us! Thanks for the memories. But time and injuries have caught up with him. I think JPP, Suh, Brady, Gronk, OJ, Brate, RoJo will probably be gone. It happens. FOURnette could return I think, if he wants to. The big question is, if Brady retires, do we go outside for a veteran passer? Going to be an interesting off season. Thanks for the memories boys! It sure was fun!

Dman
Dman
4 months ago

JPP is a warrior. We’ve been fortunate to have him. Never know how a guy like this can come back. He’s been able to achieve amazing recoveries. Let’s see what happens.

Horse
Horse
4 months ago

I wish you the best JPP with the surgery. Ben there, done that. You have had a great career. Get healthy and think about if this is worth it anymore as you are young and have a good lift ahead yet to enjoy.

Joseph
Joseph
4 months ago

Only concerned about tb12 if he decides to not come back the bucs are going to be in a world of hurt

76 Fan
76 Fan
4 months ago

As much as I respect JPP we need backup OL depth not more cheerleaders. This issue worried me all year and yesterday it reared its ugly head. Our OL starters are very good but the drop off to the backups is huge.