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Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. questionable for Sunday’s NFC title game

The standout rookie has an ankle injury that kept him out of Friday’s practice.
Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) breaks up a pass intended for Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) in the end zone during Tampa Bay's 31-27 victory in December. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) breaks up a pass intended for Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) in the end zone during Tampa Bay's 31-27 victory in December. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik) [ DANNY KARNIK | AP ]
Published Jan. 22

Rookie free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was a surprise addition Friday to the Bucs’ injury report, where he’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s NFC title game with an ankle injury.

Winfield, who has played all 18 games and finished third on the team with 91 tackles during the regular season, didn’t participate in Friday’s practice, according to the report.

Coach Bruce Arians didn’t address the injury during his post-practice briefing with reporters but responded favorably to a question about Winfield’s inaugural season.

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“He was as easy of a (draft) choice as there was with his bloodlines and the way he plays,” Arians said. “His tape was unbelievable. You know of his football intelligence, and he’s such a great kid. So, really nothing there that surprised me that he’s having so much success.”

The son of the former Vikings three-time Pro Bowl safety of the same name, Winfield has 12 tackles (including two for loss) and a forced fumble in two playoff contests. A second-round draft pick from Minnesota, he recently was named to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie team.

Second-year teammate Mike Edwards, who picked off the last of Drew Brees’ three interceptions last week in New Orleans, likely would replace Winfield if he can’t go Sunday afternoon against the Packers.