Right as one linebacker comes off the COVID-19 list, another linebacker gets put on it. The Bucs have placed linebacker Kevin Minter on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, though it’s not known whether he tested positive or was just in close contact with someone that had it.
This comes just hours after starting linebacker Devin White as well as nose tackle Steve McLendon were both activated from the same list after missing Week 17 and the Super Wild Card Round because of it. Other players that have been on the reserve/COVID list this season include running back Ronald Jones II for Weeks 14 and 15, as well as outside linebacker Shaq Barrett in Week 17 for being in close contact with White and McLendon.
Minter played a pivotal role at starting linebacker in replace of White over the last two weeks. He particularly made an impact play in the Wild Card game as he tipped a pass from Taylor Heinicke that ended up being an interception for Sean Murphy-Bunting, which set up the Bucs’ offense for their first touchdown of the game. Minter had six tackles and one pass breakup in the Bucs’ 31-23 win over Washington.
With White back at linebacker, the Bucs will have their starting defense in tact for now. But Minter also plays an important role on special teams as a captain and will be missed there. Tampa Bay recently re-signed linebacker Jack Cichy to their practice squad in Week 17 and could elevate him to the main roster as a backup with Minter out.
The Bucs will travel to New Orleans for their divisional round match-up on Sunday at 6:40 as they look to beat the Saints for the first time in three games this season.