We know that starting left guard Arron Sears’ absence from the Buccaneers’ OTAs has been due to a neurological issue that has prevented him from being medically cleared to practice with the team.
As Pewter Report reported on Tuesday, the medical issue apparently stems from a concussion that concerns the team and may even be career-threatening. Pewter Report’s primary source also said Sears, one of the team’s two second-round picks in 2007, has had a number of concussions in his two-year NFL career, which a second source confirmed on Tuesday.
What we don’t know is why Sears is feeling the effects of a concussion he suffered on October 29, 2008 leading up to the Bucs’ Week 9 contest at Kansas City this late into the offseason unless it is post-concussion syndrome. But that is only speculation as Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was not available to comment on Pewter Report’s story on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and calls and e-mails into Sears’ agent have gone unanswered.
After missing the Chiefs game with his concussion, Sears returned to action and played in the final seven games of the 2008 season and did not appear on the injury report for a concussion except for Week 9. With two sources saying that Sears has had multiple concussions in Tampa Bay, the appearance is that the team did not report those on the injury report.
The following are the only times that Sears appeared on the team’s Friday injury reports during the 2008 season:
WEEK 7 Sears knee, questionable
WEEK 8 Sears back, probable
WEEK 9 Sears back, concussion, questionable
WEEK 12 Sears shoulder, probable
WEEK 13 Sears illness, questionable
It is possible that somehow Sears suffered another concussion during the offseason during non-contact OTAs, but that seems to be quite odd as those types of injuries rarely happen in a non-padded mini-camp environment. The reason for the team’s silence on the matter is likely due to privacy concerns regarding Sears’ personal health, especially if this is depression, a bi-polar disorder or some other mental health situation. While those conditions may be brought upon by brain damage from concussions, none of those health issues can be confirmed at this time and this is merely speculation as to what Sears could be dealing with.
Another reason why the team has yet to address this matter may be due to the fact that it did not accurately diagnose and/or report the other concussions Sears has allegedly had while in Tampa Bay. If that is the case, it could attract some scrutiny from the NFL Players Association.
And if Sears did have a concussion during non-contact OTAs, that could bring even more of a spotlight to One Buccaneer Place from the NFLPA.
The last time Pewter Report can remember the team being so tight-lipped and circling the wagons around a player was during training camp in 2003 when the Bucs were sheltering reserve safety John Howell, who had been dealing with clinical depression. The team made up the cover that Howell was dealing with “family issues” rather than revealing that he was suffering from depression. One has to wonder if Sears is dealing with a concussion situation or told that to others as a means of covering up a different neurological or mental health issue.
Without Sears to speak with, and a source tells Pewter Report he has been away from One Buccaneer Place for weeks and has changed cell phone numbers recently, there are more questions than answers regarding Sears’ absence from the team. Bucs head coach Raheem Morris will address the media on Thursday after the OTA session and he will undoubtedly be dealing with plenty of questions regarding Sears.