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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' Gerald McCoy vows to overcome latest injury setback



Less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to undergo surgery on his torn right biceps, injured Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy strolled into a Tampa hospital for a much different reason.

He joined teammates Josh Freeman, Kellen Winslow, Quincy Black and general manager Mark Dominik at a Veterans Administration hospital to greet vets affected by spinal cord injuries, conditions much worse than anything McCoy has suffered on the gridiron.

Perhaps that affected his perspective on his season-ending injury, one he has suffered for the second time in as many seasons. Whatever the reason, the 2010 No. 3 overall draft choice vowed to return to form and overcome the injury bug that has, so far, gotten the best of him.

“The process is long,” he said after posing for photos and signing autographs for a group of grateful vets. “I just did it. You have to get the surgery first. Then, you have to rehab and work your way back into football shape. All that stuff. That’s the nature of the beast. You get hurt playing this game.

“It’s a man’s game. It’s not easy to play. I guess I’m getting all my nicks and tears and breaks out of the way early in my career so I can play 12, 13, 14 straight years.”

McCoy knows what some are saying about him. He finished last season on injured reserve for a torn left biceps. Last month, he missed two games with a high ankle sprain. He returned Sunday only to suffer another torn biceps.

“People are going to say what they’re going to say,” McCoy said. “They’re going say, ‘Oh, he’s a bust. He’s injury-prone.’ All that. And I’m not listening to that. The only thing that matters is what God thinks. That’s the only person who can judge me.

“If you want to pass judgment, go ahead and pass judgment. But I go out there and I don’t (listen) to that stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I love my fans. Everybody else who has something to say, it just doesn’t affect me.”

Asked whether he believed he was predisposed to this type of injury, McCoy chalked it up to coincidence. He attempted to reach out and tackle Saints running back Chris Ivory but the force of the ball carrier tore the biceps. McCoy knew instantly what had happened.

“I was just trying to make a play,” he said. “It was as simple as that. I was trying to help my team. It happens. It’s a freak thing, just like my ankle. . . It happens in this game. We’re playing at the highest level of this sport. So that stuff is going to happen.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 4:55pm]


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