Oct. 22 (UPI) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ruled out star pass-catchers Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears due to injuries.
Brown missed practice all week because of a sprained ankle, which he suffered during the Buccaneers’ 28-22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week. Despite the extra rest days after the Thursday Night Football matchup on Oct. 14, the veteran wideout wasn’t able to recover quickly enough.
It will be Brown’s second missed game this season, as he failed to suit up in Week 3 due to COVID-19. His 418 receiving yards are second most on the team — two yards behind Mike Evans and nine more than Chris Godwin.
In his absence, the Bucs are expected to utilize second-year receiver Tyler Johnson in Brown’s role.
“Tyler has done a good job. Everyone has a lot of confidence in Tyler,” Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said. “He does a good job out here whenever he gets his chance and he’s made a bunch of plays in games.
“It’s certainly not too big for him and I think he’s got a good attitude, a good work ethic. We’ve just got to keep trying to get better together.”
Gronkowski, meanwhile, will miss Sunday’s contest against the Bears as he continues to recover from a rib injury. The All-Pro tight end has been limited to just three games this season due to injuries.
Tampa Bay also will be without starting inside linebacker Lavonte David, who is recovering from an ankle sprain, and cornerback Richard Sherman, who has a hamstring ailment.
The status of outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul will be determined closer to Sunday after he failed to practice this week due to shoulder and hand injuries.