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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Guard J.R. Sweezy confident he'll play for Bucs in 2017

J.R. Sweezy said spending a year without playing football was difficult for him as he recovered from back surgery.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

J.R. Sweezy said spending a year without playing football was difficult for him as he recovered from back surgery.

2

January

It has been a frustrating year for guard J.R. Sweezy, who signed a free-agent contract with the Bucs in March but never even practiced once due to a back injury, but he said Monday that he expects to play in 2017.

"I don't want to say I'm going to do something when I'm not," he said in the locker room Monday. "I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm very confident that I will be ready, but that being said, again, just one day at a time, just getting better. ... I'm just looking forward to next season and continuing to get better every day."

Sweezy was one of the Bucs' biggest free-agent additions last spring, and he said spending a year without playing football was difficult for him as he recovered from back surgery from an injury last offseason.

"Probably the hardest season I've ever been a part of. Just outside looking in, feeling a little helpless if you will," he said. "These guys are laying it on the line and winning ballgames, and you just want to help. It was very tough, but I think it's made me grow a lot."

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Sweezy's setback was unfortunate, but he won't know what he has until he can see Sweezy out on the practice field.

"I'm not a doctor, but what I do know is we haven't seen him on the field," Koetter said. "At this point, it's been over a year since he's played. We really don't know what we have. Until we see him on the field healthy, that's an unknown. If it ever comes to the point where we have a healthy J.R. Sweezy on the field, and he's the player we thought we were getting when we were looking at that Seattle tape, I think he adds another one to the depth I already talked about on the o-line. Do we ever get to that point? I do not know that."

[Last modified: Monday, January 2, 2017 2:02pm]

    

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