Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Punter Dirk Johnson out for season with injured hamstring for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — After a season of constant change, the Bucs' kicking game will have more personnel upheaval: P Dirk Johnson's season will end because of a hamstring injury.

Johnson was injured on a fake punt Sunday at Atlanta and had to leave the game. He was placed on injured reserve Monday, and the Bucs are looking for a replacement.

Johnson had been a fill-in, taking the place of longtime P Josh Bidwell, lost after preseason hip surgery. But the instability on the unit extends to placekickers, too. Connor Barth is the third kicker to play for the Bucs in the regular season, succeeding Mike Nugent and Shane Andrus. Both were released based on performance.

The team will evaluate potential replacements for Johnson today and is expected to sign a punter by Wednesday.

Also, backup CB Torrie Cox went on injured reserve after sustaining a hip injury against the Falcons. He was replaced on the active roster by practice squad CB Brandon Anderson.

Cox has had a tough time staying healthy, having suffered three season-ending knee injuries that required reconstructive surgery.

It remains to be seen whether the injury troubles in the unit will be compounded. Coach Raheem Morris offered no specifics as to the status of starting CB Aqib Talib, who left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Talib did not comment Monday.

WR Michael Clayton's status was not known either. He suffered a knee sprain on the Bucs' first offensive series.

Sears on hold: As expected, G Arron Sears won't play this season. He was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list.

Sears returned to the team two weeks ago after taking more than six months to deal with a still-unspecified personal issue. In the meantime, he gained significant weight, and the team had considered him a long shot to play. Sears is not allowed to practice but can work with the team's training staff to get back to his playing weight, and he can attend meetings and team functions.

"We'll get him going to get him ready for next year and the offseason," Morris said. "He hasn't had much classroom or any work like that or anything as far as football-specific drills other than the ones that would be related to strength and conditioning. … It's been all getting back into shape."

While Sears can't help the Bucs now, the team remains optimistic the 2007 second-round pick and two-year starter can return and contribute.

"It's on the (way) up from what I can see," Morris said of Sears' long-term prospects.

More defense: Though the Bucs gave up a winning drive in the final minute Sunday, there was much to like on defense.

The 75 rushing yards allowed was the team's fewest this season, improving on the 76 allowed at Philadelphia.

LB Geno Hayes tied a career high with 16 tackles, and DE Stylez White tied his with seven stops. White added 21/2 sacks, tying a career high.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Punter Dirk Johnson out for season with injured hamstring for Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11/30/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 30, 2009 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.