Bucs part ways with injured guard Carl Nicks
A half-hour after the first practice of preseason started, the Bucs announced that they have "mutually agreed to part ways" with former Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, who has been sidelined with a toe injury.
"I'd like to think the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field," Nicks said in a statement. "However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it was what is best for me and my family, as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."
Nicks, a two-time Pro Bowler with the Saints, signed a five-year, $47.5-million contract with Tampa Bay in 2012 but played only nine games in two seasons with the Bucs. He had been given an excused absence from the first two days of camp. He was limited last year by a MRSA staph infection in his toe, and he had not practiced with the team in the offseason.
"Carl was an elite player, and sometimes these prideful, elite players, if they can't feel they're 100 percent, they don't want to expose themselves,'' Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. "It's like Michael Jordan retiring. I'm not saying he's the Michael Jordan of football, but he wanted to give us his best and he felt he couldn't be earnest with us unless he was giving 100 percent.
"The Glazer family, Lovie, myself, our staff, we truly wanted what was best for Carl. And Carl in return wanted what was best for the Buccaneers and he didn't want to lead us down the wrong path. We were very happy with his honestly throughout the process and we thought we came to an agreement which was best for both parties.''
Nicks' status for the upcoming season had been uncertain for some time, and his departure leaves the Bucs with no certain starters at guard. Veteran Jamon Meredith and rookie Kadeem Edwards enter preseason camp as potential starters, with veteran Oniel Cousins and other young, unproven options like second-year pro Patrick Omameh and rookie Andrew Miller competing for spots.
"I regret not having the opportunity to work with Carl, but I understand and support his decision to do what is best for him and his family," coach Lovie Smith said in a statement. "I know Carl gave this decision a lot of careful consideration and I appreciate his honesty through this process."