TAMPA — A practice that drew profane criticism from Coach Bruce Arians wasn’t bereft of promising signs.
Tight end O.J. Howard, making a slow-but-steady comeback from the season-ending ruptured Achilles he suffered 10 months ago, logged his most extensive training camp action to date Friday. The former first-round draft pick slipped on a helmet for some positional work but was an observer for full-team action.
“He looks good,” Arians said. “He’s ready to go.”
Howard’s status for Saturday’s workout, the first full-padded practice, remains unclear. The Bucs have had limited tight end depth so far in camp with veteran Cameron Brate on the active/physically unable to perform list, affording reps to seldom-used backups Tanner Hudson and Codey McElroy. Former USC standout De’Quan Hampton also was recently brought in for practice depth.
“I love having (Howard) back,” quarterback Tom Brady said.
“We’d love to have Cam back at some point, kind of see when everyone kind of comes together, what we can make of it. Just kind of want to ... communicate with the guys that you’re familiar with. And it also gives other guys opportunities, too.”
Elsewhere, safety Jordan Whitehead also engaged in limited action early in Friday’s practice and formally was removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list hours later.
Veteran receiver Antonio Brown, who had limited participation early in camp, provided one of Friday’s highlights with a double move that sprung him for a scoring catch from Brady.
“That’s like stealing,” Arians said. “He’s coming along good; he’s getting in shape.”
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