Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea (50) against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Buccaneers exercise fifth-year option for DL Vita Vea

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up defensive lineman Vita Vea’s fifth-year option, the team announced Monday.

Vea, the 12th overall draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2018, missed the majority of the Bucs’ Super Bowl season in 2020 after sustaining leg and ankle fractures while making a play in Week 5. He missed the rest of the regular season while doing stints on injured reserve and the COVID-19 reserve list, but made it back in time to play in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LV.

Vea, 26, has played in 34 games (29 starts) in his three seasons with the Bucs. He has recorded 7.5 sacks, 73 combined tackles and 19 quarterback hits.

As a 347-pound interior lineman, he’s also contributed to a run defense that ranked first in the NFL in both 2019 and 2020.

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