The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bracing for brutal news in the early stages of training camp.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday morning, per sources, that, as the team awaits final word, the fear is Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen has suffered a season-ending knee injury.
On Thursday, Jensen was carted off the practice field after getting tangled up during a practice rep. The Pro Bowler chucked his helmet while prone on the turf, indicating the severity of the injury.
If he’s indeed done for the season, it’s a massive blow to Tom Brady and the Bucs. Jensen signed a three-year, $39 million contract in March to return as Brady’s pivot, hoping to solidify an interior offensive line that lost both guards from last season.
Now the Bucs are poised to break in three new interior blockers. Robert Hainsey, drafted in the third round last year, is the leading in-house candidate to replace Jensen at center.
Tampa could also look to add a veteran, with free-agent options including JC Tretter, Matt Paradis and Billy Price, among others.
Losing Jensen, and the toughness he brings to the interior, for the entire season is a rough way for the Bucs to start their quest to return to the Super Bowl. But we’ve seen Brady win with inexperienced centers in the past.