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Injuries pile up at safety as Bucs work out Marcus Gilchrist

The team was down to four healthy safeties to finish Friday’s preseason game at Pittsburgh

TAMP— At one point in Friday’s 30-28 preseason loss at Pittsburgh, the Bucs were down to four healthy safeties who were in uniform.

Mike Edwards aggravated a hamstring injury in the game and could miss a week. Then Kentrell Brice suffered an ankle injury.

Safety Jordan Whitehead, who started the game and played 11 snaps, had to stay warm throughout just in case.

Since that game, the Bucs have signed former Tennessee safety Micah Albernathy, who was released recently by the Vikings. Recently signed safety John Battle dressed for Friday’s game but didn’t play.

On Monday, the Bucs had former Jets and Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist in for a workout. Gilchrist started all 16 games for Oakland last season, recording 58 tackles and three interceptions. He played two seasons for the Jets under Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

“The thing that’s interesting is you don’t think going into your second preseason game you’ll have four safeties. It’s hard with continuity,’‘ safeties coach Nick Rapone said. “And it’s like, how can I put it? You invest so much time into this safety position because they have to know everything that when you lose four of them, you know, the knowledge. …

“We knew Mr. (Justin) Evans, we’re waiting on him. We didn’t anticipate Orion Stewart going down. We didn’t anticipate D’Cota (Dixon) going down. And now Edwards. So that’s four safeties. Now, we’re in the National Football League. We understand what we got to do. So we’re just attempting to build every day. We don’t play until Sept. 8, so we have close to a month.’’

Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Evans has begun running full speed and could come off the active Physically Unable to Perform list soon.

“He’s been excellent in the classroom,’’ Rapone said. “And that’s the only thing I can judge him on. I’m extremely pleased. He’s engaged. He’s compliant. He’s cerebral. So in the classroom, no problems with him at all. I’m impressed with him.’’

As for the new additions, well, they are far behind entering the second preseason game.

“Those other guys are in the sixth grade right now and they’re in kindergarten,’’ Rapone said. “You know what I mean? You catch them up as fast as you can catch them up. That’s all you can do.’’


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