TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.
Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former LSU/NFL linebacker Lamin Barrow in the April 12 accident at Baton Rouge, La. Barrow lost control of car and hit a gate, Baton Rouge police said. Beckwith broke an ankle, on which he had surgery Tuesday.
GM Jason Licht said Thursday that did not know whether Beckwith's recovery would extend to training camp or the regular season.
"We're very fortunate that it wasn't life-threatening," Licht said. "In training camp, we'll have a better idea of how far along he is."
Beckwith, 23, played the most snaps of any linebacker as a rookie last year, filling in when starting linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed time with injuries. He finished with 73 tackles.
His regular role is as the team's strongside linebacker — which comes off the field in the nickel defense when teams go to three receivers — though he also saw some work as a pass-rushing defensive end. Licht mentioned Adarius Taylor (formerly Glanton) and Devante Bond as other players in a position to step up while Beckwith is injured.
Beckwith is known to be a quick healer. He needed only eight months to recover from a torn ACL he suffered in his final game at LSU in 2016. "We just talked to him before we went to meetings,'' linebacker Alexander said Thursday. "His spirit is high. [Since we] are getting back around now, so we are going to go see him, go check him out, keep him up, keep him lifted.
"His mindset, I know he is trying to fight for the regular season and camp too. So, I know he's going to be fighting, we are going to be pushing him, keep praying for him.''
Staying off the sweets
Alexander, who missed four games with a hamstring injury last season, said he has spent time in the off-season improving his diet and self-evaluating tape of the bad plays he made last season.
"My goal this year was eating healthier,'' Alexander said. "I have been eating healthier. I have been eating healthier for three months now, no sweets, no nothing. So, I feel way better than I ever felt. Just being smarter in the game. I have been watching a lot of film, way more film than I have been. I have been sitting in my room just beating myself down in film just watching, especially my bad plays more than my good plays. My great plays actually, excuse me. I would get in trouble if I didn't say that. I have just been watching my bad plays, seeing the things I need to work on and that's what I've been doing. We have been evaluating ourselves in the meeting rooms, so everything is going to be better."
What food did he give up?
"Sweets, I love sweets,'' Alexander said. "I like dessert, red velvet cakes, I like cakes and cookies. I see them in the [dining room] and walk right past it. It has been a great mindset for me though. I have been working hard at it. It is hard. I like chicken wings, fried chicken wings, so it has been hard, but I have been going through it."
Love the one you’re with
Among the many lessons Licht said he has learned about the NFL draft over his four seasons as general manager, one of the best is to ignore the temptation to trade and take the player you like.
"If there's a player that you really like and you feel very, very confident in, you shouldn't hesitate to take the player,'' Licht said. "Sometimes getting cute, moving back, can cost. It goes back to how are you going to feel in bed at night after the first day, the second day? Are you going to feel good or are you going to feel bad that you passed an opportunity to take a guy that you really liked? So, lessons, you learn lessons every year. Sometimes you can fall in love with a player too much too and mortgage your future and give up picks. We haven't done that, but I've restrained from doing that. So maybe, lessons, there's a lot of them, too many to mention probably. But you learn every year. You grow, you try to get better."