Damien Robinson's hit on the receiver Wednesday is worse than first thought.
It is a new season, but the same sad story for Bert Emanuel. Hurt Emanuel.
Just three days into training camp, the Bucs receiver is spending more time in the emergency room than the locker room.
Emanuel sustained a Grade 1 concussion and whiplash resulting from the crushing blow to the head he received Wednesday night from safety Damien Robinson during a non-tackling scrimmage.
A CAT scan Thursday detected no structural damage, but Emanuel will not accompany the team to Davie today for this weekend's workouts and scrimmage with the Dolphins.
Emanuel was sent home to recuperate and is expected to rejoin the team Monday.
"We were trying to be aggressive on defense. But at the same time, I have to be smart enough to know I can't be hitting our receivers," Robinson said. "I should have pulled back."
Robinson was especially remorseful the player injured was Emanuel, the Bucs' highest-paid receiver. Asked if he regretted the incident, Robinson said, "Yeah, I do. Anybody but Bert."
The Bucs do not believe the injury is serious, but it is the second concussion Emanuel has received in 10 months. He suffered severe headaches after his head hit the turf at Raymond James Stadium _ at one point losing his way back to the huddle _ in a game against Tennessee.
Emanuel is the latest starter on offense to be knocked out of training camp. Running back Warrick Dunn has not practiced this week because of tendinitis in his left knee and fullback Mike Alstott has not practiced since Tuesday after a left ankle sprain.
Injuries are common, particularly early in training camp, when players don pads for the first time in about seven months. Under coach Tony Dungy, the Bucs allow limited contact in practice in an effort to avoid collisions like Emanuel's.
"I felt bad," defensive backs coach Herman Edwards said. "First of all, we don't condone that. Damien knows that and I don't think he did it purposely."
Robinson, who played in just six games last season after breaking his arm against New Orleans, is expected to start at free safety this season.
Edwards said Robinson had been trying to improve his coverage on the particular pass route that Emanuel was running when the hit happened.
"It's one of those deals where he's had some problems at times in any three-deep zone," Edwards said. "That was basically the strong-side area. He had hit him a couple times in the spring camp and we kept harping on him about it. We reminded him of it last night, that they like to run these routes. So he was kind of fired up about it last night. Lo and behold, here comes the route. And I think once he saw it, unconsciously, he just went. It's a tough deal."
For Emanuel, it was unsettling considering he is trying to bury an injury-plagued '98 season that saw him miss five games.
Emanuel finished third on the club in receiving with 41 catches for 636 yards and just two touchdowns _ all career-lows.
"You feel bad. Bert is really having a good camp and we look forward to him having a great year for us because he can run and he's a big-play guy," Edwards said. "Hopefully, everything will be all right."
Robinson was admonished by coaches after the hit on Emanuel, which was witnessed by more than 5,000 fans. Among them was Emanuel's wife, Teri, and the couple's three daughters.
"It was one of those things where you had a nice crowd and a nice night and everybody got excited. You want to bring that intensity but you have to be able to keep your poise," Dungy said.
"There are times when you have to be able to step up and practice under those circumstances but still be under control. It was unfortunate but one of those things that happen."
"If it was in a game situation, it would be a great play and we would love it," Edwards said. "But we don't want to do that to any of our players and I don't think our players have ever taken the field with that intent.
"I just hope during the course of the year, we make those plays. Damien probably feels worse about it than anyone else. He's that kind of guy.
"It's unfortunate it happened. But sometimes it happens in practice and now you've got to move on."