TAMPA — Bucs outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, currently recovering from a fractured neck injury he sustained in an offseason automobile accident, was placed on the team’s active/non-football injury list on Wednesday.
The move means that Pierre-Paul won’t be active when the first full-squad training camp practice commences on Friday, but it also leaves the door open for a return later this season.
Pierre-Paul, who led the Bucs with 12.5 sacks last season, will count against the team’s 90-man roster and he can be taken off the list at any point during training camp before the team reaches his final 53-man active roster for the regular season.
After Pierre-Paul decided against having surgery on his neck, both he and the team eyed a possible late-September, early-October return. Head coach Bruce Arians said last month that he didn't expect Pierre-Paul to return until October at the earliest.
Even through Pierre-Paul, who was still wearing a bulky neck brace on his social media account as recently as earlier this week, wasn't going to be active, he was expected to report to the Advent Health Training Center this week like all other players and be re-evaluated by team doctors. That exam that clearly offered optimism that Pierre-Paul could play at some point this season.
Pierre-Paul crashed his Ferrari into a concrete barrier on a rain-slicked South Florida highway on May 2, suffering a cervical fracture in his neck.
He is making a base salary of $13.65 million this season plus a $1-million roster bonus, and $7.5 of that salary became guaranteed in March, though by placing him on the NFI list ,the Bucs could be eligible to recover at least a portion of his salary if make a case that the injury voided the terms of his contract because it occurred under non-football circumstances.
The active/non-football injury list is different than the reserve/non-football injury list in that being placed on the latter ends a player’s season. Linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who hasn’t recovered from a car accident two offseasons ago, was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list in May.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.