Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs rookie Alexander drops appeal, will miss rest of season

TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander's impressive rookie season is over unless the Bucs earn a playoff spot.

Alexander dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs and will begin serving immediately.

He would be eligible to participate if the Bucs (6-6) qualify for the postseason. Tampa Bay is a game behind Seattle for the final NFC wild card after Sunday's 23-19 win over Atlanta.

Alexander was informed by the league of the positive test several weeks ago, and after a 45-17 win at Philadelphia, he took responsibility for not checking with team trainers before taking an "energy drink" that he said he has consumed since high school.

"It's my fault. … I've never been in any trouble or anything," Alexander said. "It's very disappointing. I'm really disappointed in myself. All they kept saying is if you're about to drink something, ask somebody first. I'm very disappointed in myself and I hold myself accountable. … If I get suspended, I'm going to come back even stronger."

Alexander, a fourth-round pick from LSU, has started every game at middle linebacker and is second on the team with 93 tackles. He also has recorded three sacks and two interceptions.

The Bucs will replace Alexander with LBs Danny Lansanah or Bruce Carter, who missed Sunday's game with a concussion, or a combination of both.

"We have Bruce Carter, we have Danny Lansanah, our two players right now that have both played that position," said coach Lovie Smith, still not commenting on the suspension until the league officially notifies the team the appeal has been dropped. "We try to have a backup plan for every position on our team if injury or whatever causes a player not to be able to play."

ON THE MEND: Tampa Bay already is short-handed on defense. Against the Falcons, the Bucs were without all four of the defensive linemen who started the season. DT Gerald McCoy (hand), DE Jacquies Smith (hamstring) and DE George Johnson (calf) all missed Sunday's game. DT Clinton McDonald is on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.

CB Jude Adjei-Barimah left the game with an elbow injury, and though it's not expected to be a long-term absence, Smith said former starter Johnthan Banks filled in well while getting most of the snaps after the injury.

"He did a good job," Smith said. "(Sunday), boom, a change where Jude went down and we needed (Banks) to step up, and he jumped right in there like you would expect him to do."

HONORED: Pro Football Hall of Fame LB Derrick Brooks was honored Monday at Booker T. Washington High in Pensacola in front of a crowd of 1,200 students and staff as part of the Hall's "Hometown Hall of Famer" campaign.

"You guys need to understand that my time here at Booker T. Washington taught me how to be great," Brooks told the students, according to a Hall release.

THIS AND THAT: The Bucs gave rookie WR Donteea Dye a look on kickoff returns Sunday, and he gained 18 yards on his lone return, but Smith reiterated that Bobby Rainey "is our returner." … WR Mike Evans picked up his fourth offensive pass interference penalty Sunday. Only one player in the NFL has been flagged for that more often: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, six times. … Sunday's game had an announced attendance of 58,221, but the actual attendance, per the Tampa Sports Authority, was 49,760, which is third-lowest of the six actual attendances this season.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Updated: 10 hours ago
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Published: 06/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Published: 06/22/18
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Published: 06/21/18