In a Zoom conference call with local reporters, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that only one player will not be healthy enough to start the season – free safety Justin Evans, who missed all of last year on injured reserve with foot injuries. Arians said that Evans will start training camp on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

“He’ll probably be on PUP and we’ll see how the right foot reacts,” Arians said. “He doesn’t have a lot of time but he needs to be out there. He’s the only one right now that I think will be on PUP.”

Evans, a second-round pick in 2017, saw his first two seasons in Tampa Bay end on injured reserve prior to missing the entire 2019 campaign. Evans’ foot injuries date back to November of 2018 when he was placed on I.R.

Tampa Bay hoped he would recover during the offseason and be able to compete in training camp, but that never materialized, and Evans’ gamble that rest – rather than surgery – didn’t pay off. Evans returned to practice for a week prior to the final preseason game, but couldn’t go as the pain returned. He finally opted for surgery on both of his heels and missed the 2019 campaign.

Bucs S Justin Evans - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs S Justin Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

During his absence, young safeties Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards, last year’s third-round pick, got valuable playing time and showed improvement, and veteran Andrew Adams was also re-signed. The fact that the Bucs spent a second-round pick on free safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. is evidence that the team isn’t counting on Evans to return to action in 2020.

Even if Evans is healthy enough to take the field in training camp, can his level of play return to the level it was prior to his injury? And can he shake off the rust to be able to beat out Whitehead, Edwards, Adams and D’Cota Dixon, a promising young safety whose season ended in training camp due to a shoulder injury, for a roster spot? The fact that the Bucs drafted Winfield so high suggests to me that the answer is no.

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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DannyC

Feel bad for the kid, he showed talent but injuries might force to end his career. At least here in Tampa, I don’t think he’ll survive here with another year of injuries.

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Horse

I think the message is Justin Evans probably will not be a Buccaneer in 2020 on the active roster. Honey ever be a Buccaneer on the active list; probably not.

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Will not Honey

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Brandonges

Cutting him frees up $1.2M in cap

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BigSombrero

Can’t make the club from the tub! Moving on…

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surferdudes

Licht must think by keeping him he won’t have another second round bust on his resume. Yes bust, his career highlight is making a career on I.R.. Not his fault he has bad feet, but cut bait already.

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BigSombrero

Sad but true.

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Captain Sly

Days are numbered!!

Unfortunately for him “No Camp” means more reps for the younger healthier safeties like Edwards, Dixon & Jordan Whitehead who have only been getting better in Bowles System. The stakes are too high for holdovers from the Koetter Regime!

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bucballer

It’s a cruel sport sometimes… but time to move on.

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seat26

He was so good too. It is unfortunate that injuries end a lot of player’s careers in the NFL.

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Dman

Very sad and doesn’t look like he’ll make it back any time soon. No question he was our best safety. Hope he gets another opportunity to salvage his career. I’m not a Licht fan, but I wouldn’t call this kid a bust because of an injury.

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