TAMPA — In the middle of the Bucs’ most sweltering practice of training camp, tempers flared on the field Thursday, and it might have led to the team’s first serious injury of camp.
One play after a skirmish broke out between offensive and defensive linemen during 11-on-11 drills, running back T.J. Logan had to be carted off the field with an apparent right leg injury after he was taken down from behind by linebacker Quinton Bell during a non-tackling period.
Logan was projected to return kicks and punts and was working to get touches on offense at running back. As he rolled on the ground in pain, receiver Mike Evans yelled out to the defense, “That better be a cramp!”
The skirmish during the previous play prompted outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul to yell out from the sideline, “You can’t do that! Those are your teammates!”
Then, Bell chased Logan as he tried to turn the corner and awkwardly pulled him down from behind.
“When we’re in the non-tackling period, I don’t want to tackle,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “When we tackle, we tackle. But the last thing you do is grab a jersey. I can see you on film if you’re going to make a tackle or not. We’ll see how that goes, how it plays out. But there’s a certain practice etiquette you have to follow. Young guys happen to struggle with that.”
Logan has been a favorite of Arians, who coached him as a rookie in Arizona in 2017. Logan’s career has been injury-plagued. He missed 12 games as a rookie with a dislocated wrist, and last season ended prematurely with a broken thumb in Week 12.
Arians praised Logan throughout the first days of training camp, saying that he could see him getting snaps at running back despite a crowded position room.
“You never want to see a player down, especially a guy who was having the kind of camp he was having,” Arians said. “So we’ll wait and see. See what happens with it. (It’s) still too early to tell, but we’ll wait and see.”
Gronk facing the heat head on
Earlier in the week, Arians said that tight end Rob Gronkowski was in great shape after taking a year off, but he still needed to get adapted to playing in the Florida heat, saying he was still in “New England shape.”
Gronkowski, who played his entire nine-year career in New England, said it has been an adjustment adapting to the summer humidity in Florida. But, like everything else, he’s taking it in stride while meeting the challenge head on.
“I’m adjusting,” Gronkowski said. “I’m not there. I’m not to the full potential of where I want to be. But definitely adapting to the humidity is a challenge. Your gloves are sweating. Your shoes, by halfway through the practice, it’s like you jumped in the pool. They’re all squishy every time you take a step, so it’s kind of harder to make a cut when your shoes are just full of water. Your hands, your shirt, you’re drenched in water. That’s a challenge. It makes practice harder, but I knew that that was going to be the case.
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“You just laugh about it when you’re out there on the field,” he added. “You just laugh that your shoes are squishing and you’re breathing extra hard. But you know it’s a great challenge, because it’s gonna make you better in the long run, big time.”
Edwards on first Brady interception
Second-year safety Mike Edwards earned bragging rights over his teammates in the secondary by being the first player to intercept one of Tom Brady’s passes in camp, but he wishes he had a souvenir to mark the play.
Edwards said he had a friendly wager with cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean on who would pick Brady off first.
“We all had a little, little thing before the season started, whoever was the first one to pick off Tom Brady would get a little something,” Edwards said. “So I made sure I reminded them I got it.”
“Everyone says, did I keep it?” Edwards added. “I really should have kept it and had him sign it or something. But when I got the pick, I just ran into the end zone and threw the ball up in the air and I never got it back.”
Rookie receiver Tyler Johnson participated in his first practice of training camp on Wednesday, and Arians praised the way he ran an inside-out route, but added he’s “light years behind.” … The team’s two scrimmages will be simulated games in many ways, down to testing the scoreboards, clocks and replay system for the regular-season home opener. … Arians said the safety protocols make it difficult to get officials in to call penalties and simulate a game, because the team would have to take Tier 2 status away from seven individuals.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.