Oct 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) celebrates as he catches the ball during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Short-handed Bucs rule out four starters for Sunday

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ruled out tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Antonio Brown, linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Richard Sherman for Sunday’s game.

Head coach Bruce Arians confirmed Friday that all four injured starters will be absent when the Bucs (5-1) host the Chicago Bears (3-3).

Brown (ankle), David (ankle) and Sherman (hamstring) were all injured in Tampa Bay’s 28-22 win in Philadelphia on Oct. 14. Gronkowski (ribs) has not played since Week 3.

Brown has 29 receptions for 418 yards and a team high-tying four touchdown catches in five games.

Gronkowski has 16 catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns in three games.

David has 34 tackles and one sack in five games.

Sherman made his Bucs debut against New England on Oct. 3. He has 11 tackles and one fumble recovery in three games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) can t hang on to a pass in the end zone in the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Rob Gronkowski, two others ruled out vs. Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has been ruled out of his third straight game due to his injuries.

Linebacker Lavonte David (ankle) and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion) will join Gronkowski in sitting out Thursday’s game against the host Philadelphia Eagles (2-3). Those three players did not practice this week for the Bucs (4-1).

While those three players will not play on Thursday, center Ryan Jensen (hip), defensive lineman Pat O’Connor (calf) and edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder, hand) are listed as questionable for the game. Those three players were listed as full participants in Wednesday’s practice.

Gronkowski previously told FOX Sports he sustained “four cracked ribs, one broken rib and a punctured lung” in the Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Gronkowski, 32, has collected 16 receptions for 184 yards and four touchdowns this season.

David, 31, is expected to miss three to four weeks with a high ankle sprain he sustained during Tampa Bay’s 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

David has 34 tackles and one sack in five games this season. The 10-year veteran has spent his entire career with the Buccaneers and was an All-Pro in 2013 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2015.

Winfield, 23, will miss his second straight game on Thursday. He has 25 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble in four games this season.

Quarterback Tom Brady, 44, is a full-go for Thursday’s game. He injured his right (passing) thumb against Miami.

Philadelphia right tackle Lane Johnson (personal matter) remains away from the team and will miss his third straight game.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs ILB Lavonte David (ankle) out 3 to 4 weeks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David will miss three to four weeks with the ankle injury he sustained during Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, ESPN reported Monday.

An MRI exam determined that the injury was a sprain.

It was already clear that David would miss Thursday night’s road game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He would have to miss at least three games if the Buccaneers place him on injured reserve.

David was injured during the second quarter of Sunday’s 45-17 rout of the Miami Dolphins when teammate Ndamukong Suh rolled up on his lower leg.

Special teams ace Kevin Minter is slated to start in place of David.

“Every week I’ve got to prepare like I’m the starter,” Minter told reporters on Monday. “You never know what can happen in a game. This is ball — anybody can get hurt, anything can happen. Just that coach’s motto, ‘Next man up.’ The preparation is the same — maybe a bit more focused, but at the same time, I’ve got to continue doing what I’m doing.”

Minter, 30, has been on the field for 27 defensive snaps this season — 26 coming against the Dolphins due to David’s injury.

He is in his ninth NFL season and has started 47 of 111 games played for the Arizona Cardinals (2013-16), Cincinnati Bengals (2017) and Buccaneers. Minter has 321 tackles and six sacks.

David, 31, has 34 tackles and one sack in five games this season. The 10-year veteran has spent his entire career with Tampa Bay and was an All-Pro in 2013 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2015.

David has 1,159 tackles, 25 sacks, 24 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions in 142 career games (all starts).

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) gives thumbs up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Tom Brady (thumb) OK, Lavonte David (ankle) out Thursday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is not expected to miss any time after injuring his right thumb in Sunday’s win against Miami, NFL Network reported Monday.

Linebacker Lavonte David, however, is reportedly expected to miss at least this Thursday night’s game with a low-ankle sprain suffered in the 45-17 victory over the Dolphins.

The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (4-1) visit the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) for the Week 6 contest.

Brady, 44, hurt his thumb early in Sunday’s game but finished with 411 yards and five touchdown passes. It was the first time in his 22-year career that he passed for 400-plus yards with five TDs in the same game.

David, 31, injured his ankle in the first half and was ruled out for the second half. He has 34 tackles and one sack in five starts this season, his 10th year with the Buccaneers.

He is considered week-to-week.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers re-sign LB Lavonte David to two-year, $25M deal

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) celebrates with his team during the first half of a NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Lavonte David signed a two-year, $25 million contract to stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

David is the longest-tenured player on the roster. Multiple reports pegged the guarantees in the deal at $20 million for the 31-year-old.

“I didn’t want to go nowhere. I have a legacy here I’m trying to chase,” David said Friday. “I’m just trying to win more Super Bowls.”

Money to keep David in Tampa was freed up thanks to quarterback Tom Brady signing a deal that created $19 million against the 2021 salary cap, per reports.

Tampa also re-signed linebacker Keith Minter to a one-year deal on Friday.

The Buccaneers entered the month not knowing where the cash might come from to retain their key free agents. Wide receiver Chris Godwin was given the franchise tag, David re-signed on Friday, leaving pass rusher Shaq Barrett as the top pending free agent for the team who remains unsigned. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown are also unrestricted free agents.

David said the team has been talking contract for more than two weeks. He never felt the need to look for a “plan B.”

“I was real secure and confident we were going to get something done,” David said.

David and Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis are the only two players in league history to amass at least 1,000 tackles, at least 20 sacks and at least 10 interceptions through their first eight seasons.

–Field Level Media