Along with Gerald McCoy, the Buccaneers announced the decision to place two more players on injured reserve. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Louis Murphy will also miss the remaining two games.
“Our plan right now is to put these three players on IR,” said Lovie Smith. “Gerald McCoy with the knee sprain, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a back injury and Louis Murphy has a high ankle sprain.”
For Seferian-Jenkins, the rookie second-round pick has battled various ailments since training camp. And after dealing with a prolonging back injury that has now sidelined him for the remaining five weeks (three prior to being placed on IR), the 6-6 tight end says his biggest takeaway from his first NFL season is the need to take great care of your body.
“Well obviously you have to take care of your body,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “That’s the most important thing I’ve learned, you have to keep taking care of your body. It’s a physical game and you’re not always going to be healthy, but that’s just the way it is.”
“Yeah, unfortunately (the season) didn’t go the way I wanted. I’ve had injuries throughout the whole year; I didn’t come in healthy. It’s unfortunate that it ended this way, but it’s just the beginning. We have a bright future here in Tampa and I’m excited to be apart of it.”
Although this season has largely been a disappointment for the him, Lovie Smith is still encouraged by the former Huskie’s future after seeing impressive flashes on the field, as well as toughness battling through injuries.
“There we’re glimpses in between that with all the injuries that he fought,” Smith said. “And that’s showing an awful lot, too, to see how a guy will handle injuries. He played with pain quite a bit; he’s fought through it. So yes, he had enough of an opportunity to show us that he’s someone we really like throughout it all.”
Seferian-Jenkins played in a total of nine games this year, catching 21 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
Lovie Smith’s other big IR announcement involved wide receiver Louis Murphy. The sixth-year pro injured his ankle after being hit below the knees on a slant pass during the final drive of the second quarter.
For Murphy personally, the former Gator has had a roller coaster of a year. After being released in preseason, he was re-signed four days before the Buccaneer’s Week 4 game against the Steelers. Ironically, he ended up the hero during a rare, 27-24, win in Pittsburgh.
“Just an outstanding job by him,” Smith said. “Of course, we know who Gerald McCoy is. And Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the second round draft pick, but Louis came in a little bit off the streets you can say. He didn’t miss anything and earned everything that he’s gotten. Of course we haven’t had a lot of wins, but he has as much to do with one of those as you could have. (Murphy) just kept showing up. Love what he brought to our team on and off the football field.”
In 11 starts this season, Murphy contributed with 31 receptions for 380 yards and 2 touchdowns. And while looking at the big picture, Smith feels he has earned a spot in Tampa Bay for 2015.
“I think it’s safe to say that he’s a guy we like representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” Smith said.
The good news out of One Buc Place on Monday – and there wasn’t much – is that none of McCoy’s, Seferian-Jenkins or Murphy’s injuries are believed to be long term. While Smith said he wasn’t going to “try to play doctor”, he’s confident that all three will be ready to go well before the start of the 2015 season.
“No, none of these injuries (are long term),” Smith said. “It’s a shortened season right now and they can’t get back in time, but none of these are injuries are ones that will keep them out of circulation for a long period of time.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: email@example.com
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