Clayton's season over ... again
The Bucs put receiver Michael Clayton on injured reserve Tuesday, marking the second time in his three-year career the first-round draft pick has had a season end prematurely because of injury. Clayton's injury was not disclosed, but he left Sunday's game at Pittsburgh with a knee injury and was scheduled for an MRI on Monday.
Clayton played in 12 games with nine starts and was the team's second-leading receiver with 33 catches for 356 yards and one touchdown.
Since a record-setting rookie season in 2004, Clayton's career has been plagued by injuries and spotty play. He battled through shoulder and knee injuries in 2005 before being put on IR with a turf toe injury, forcing him to miss the wild-card playoff game against Washington. Clayton reported to training camp in July healthy and in good physical condition, but found Joey Galloway had replaced him as the team's go-to receiver.
Clayton's lone touchdown this season provided the winning margin in the Bucs 14-13 victory against the Bengals. His 8-yard reception with 28 seconds left was ruled incomplete on the field, but was reversed by replay.
In Sunday's 23-3 loss at Pittsburgh, Clayton dropped a perfectly thrown pass from rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. With the nearest defender more than 10 yards away, the play surely would have resulted in a 39-yard touchdown and reduced the Steelers lead to 10-7 late in the third quarter. Perhaps trying to make up for his mistake, Clayton was fighting for extra yardage when he was injured four plays later.
Clayton set Bucs rookie records for receptions (80), receiving yards (1,193) and receiving touchdowns (seven) in 2004. In two seasons since, he has 65 catches for 728 yards and one touchdown.