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Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Geno Hayes cleared to face Indianapolis Colts

TAMPA — Bucs LB Geno Hayes passed all the neurological tests mandated by the NFL for players who suffer a concussion and has been cleared to play Monday night against Indianapolis, coach Raheem Morris said Thursday.

Hayes was injured tackling Falcons RB Michael Turner in the third quarter of Tampa Bay's 16-13 win on Sunday. S Cody Grimm suffered a season-ending knee injury on the same play when it appeared his knee struck Hayes' helmet.

"He cleared (Thursday)," Morris said of Hayes. "He went through all the battery of tests. He's a clear man, and they're going to let him play."

Meanwhile, LB Quincy Black, who missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury sustained in the first half at Minnesota on Sept. 18, returned to practice. Morris said rookie middle LB Mason Foster will continue to play on nickel passing downs and wear the helmet transmitter. But Morris indicated Black and Hayes will battle to stay on the field at weakside linebacker during passing downs.

"Quincy Black … went out, moved around in the base (strongside linebacker) position," Morris said. "He got a chance to get a couple (weakside linebacker) reps. Mason did the nickel (middle linebacker) stuff, we got a chance to see both of those guys."

COLTS PREPARE PAINTER: Colts QB Curtis Painter is preparing to make his first NFL start Sunday. Veteran Kerry Collins has not practiced since receiving a concussion against the Steelers.

Colts coach Jim Caldwell said a final decision had not been reached, but Collins missed practice again Thursday.

"Right now Kerry is still recovering," Caldwell said in a conference call. "If Kerry can't go, then Curtis obviously will play for us. Obviously, he played a little bit last week, and I think he's the kind of guy who will respond very well. Curtis is a tough-minded guy who has ability."

Painter, 26, did not throw a pass in the regular season last year. As a rookie in 2008, he was 8-of-28 passing for 83 yards and two interceptions. He went 5-of-11 for 60 yards after Collins left the game against the Steelers.

"I don't know much about him," Bucs CB Ronde Barber said. "I have to go back to preseason film to watch him. I saw the couple of snaps he got last week against Pittsburgh. We'll find out what he's about (from) studying film this week. Whichever quarterback we get, we'll have to prepare for him.

"(Painter) is green somewhat, but the offense is still the Colts offense. They still run the same plays. I just don't want him to get hot against us."

Morris said the Bucs will prepare for the same Colts system that has been run by Peyton Manning, who is recovering from neck surgery.

"If you prepare for the best the system has to offer, you'll be ready," Morris said. "If it comes out that it's not as good as it's supposed to be, then, hey, that's not my fault. … We'll get ready for the Indianapolis Colts and what they do on offense."

With the Colts' injury problems at quarterback, might they try to sign a veteran? Owner Jim Irsay said this week they don't have the salary for certain moves.

SAFETY FIRST: The Bucs officially began preparing for life without starting FS Grimm (knee), who was placed on injured reserve this week. Corey Lynch, Larry Asante and Devin Holland are competing for the starting spot, although all three could play in the game.

"I have to say Corey Lynch is the favorite today," Morris said. "But you never know, man. You might want to play them all. We'll see what's going on. I like to give people opportunity. I'm sure you guys know that by now."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "He's very Freeman-like, he's wise beyond his years. Very cool, very calm, very collected." — Morris on Foster.

Ex-buc's food delivered, golf clubs taken

ATLANTA — Former Bucs kicker Matt Bryant, now with the Falcons, had his golf clubs stolen by a Chinese food delivery man, police said.

Kristian Vail, 22, was charged with stealing the clubs, worth about $3,000, from Bryant's open garage Sept. 16.

"He went into the open garage, took the clubs, delivered the food and went on his way," Braselton police Assistant Chief Lou Solis said.

Vail faces felony burglary charges. Investigators said he traded the clubs and golf bag for 80 Ecstasy pills.

Bryant, 36, played for the Bucs from 2005 to 2008, making a team-record 62-yard field goal to beat the Eagles in 2006.

Times wires

Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Geno Hayes cleared to face Indianapolis Colts 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 9:15pm]
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