More Bucs cuts, including defensive tackle Amobi Okoye
UPDATE, 1:41 p.m.: The Bucs and Okoye reached an injury settlement, according to his agent, meaning he was not deemed to be ready to take the field. No word on the details of the agreement.
POSTED 11:47 a.m.: Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye reportedly is among the Bucs’ cuts and is nearing a return to the Bears, for whom he played last season.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Okoye has already been released as the Bucs make their way toward the NFL’s 53-man roster limit deadline of 9 p.m. tonight. The paper said Okoye will be signing a contract to return to the Bears.
The Bucs also have cut defensive tackle Frank Okam, linebacker Rennie Curran as well as running back Mossis Madu and safety Larry Asante, as we told you last night.
Okoye’s release should come as little surprise. The Bucs signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal during the offseason, but Okoye underwent a supposedly routine minor knee surgery shortly after. But affects from that surgery continue even now, causing Okoye to miss the final three preseason games.
Wednesday night in Washington, after the Bucs’ preseason finale, Okoye told the Times he was getting closer to a return but admitted a previous setback.
“I came out and did the conditioning test (on July 28) and it felt good after that,” Okoye said. “I played in Miami (in the preseason opener). But I just think the constant beating and beating on it was an issue. It had some swelling and I just needed to continue to rehab it. I’m out there practicing on and off and I’m basically just getting it ready for Sundays. Right now it’s feeling better than it was even before the conditioning test.”
Schiano recently conceded Okoye’s history with the knee was of some concern.
“It’s not just one surgery,” he said. “He has a history with that knee. We knew when we decided to (sign him) that there was a chance that it was going to have to be handled. . . The way he practices, how much he practices -- we are kind of just trying to feel our way through it, see what he can and can’t do.”
Then, on Thursday, Schiano – in retrospect – previewed Okoye’s release.
“You try to nudge it along a little bit – never jeopardizing the player’s health – but you can be a little more cautious at times and we’ve tried to do that,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out and earn a spot.”
Okoye didn’t practice or play enough in the preseason to do that, it would appear.
Okoye's release, coupled with that of Okam -- who posted on Twitter about his apparent release -- only further highlights the lack of depth on the defensive line.
Look for the Bucs to address that, if possible, in the next several days.