TAMPA — Hours after signing with the Bucs on Wednesday, Richard Sherman suggested any notion of him performing at his All-Pro level Sunday in New England would be preposterous.
“If I did it, it would be another thing to chalk up as a cool thing I did,” he said.
Whip out the chalk. Sherman might — might — get the chance.
Following Friday’s indoor practice, head coach Bruce Arians said cornerback Jamel Dean, still unable to push off on the knee he injured last week against the Rams, is out for Sunday’s contest along with tailback Giovani Bernard (knee). As a result, Sherman will be on the active roster as a precaution for the Bucs’ injury-depleted secondary.
“We’ll have (Sherman) up, just in case,” Arians said.
Also making the trip will be veteran edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, a surprise participant at Friday’s practice after being sidelined by hand and shoulder issues since the Falcons game two weeks ago. Arians said Pierre-Paul and tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) will be game-time decisions.
Pierre-Paul is listed as questionable on the latest official injury report; Gronkowski is doubtful.
“Nothing surprises me with Jason,” Arians said. “He looked pretty good. ... He’s an amazing cat.”
Gronkowski was spotted at Friday’s practice, albeit without pads as the Bucs worked out in “spider” pads and helmets. He took a hard shot to the ribs in last week’s 34-24 loss to the Rams and didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday.
Though his possible return to New England, whom he helped lead to three Super Bowl titles, remains a huge story line in a game filled with them, he hasn’t been made available to reporters this week.
“We have great doctors, great trainers,” Arians said. “Everybody knows what it takes to get somebody ready, and a lot of it’s just personal toughness. And some guys are a lot tougher than other guys. It’s nothing bad against them, but some guys are just really tough.”
A precious few, however, possess the resilience of Pierre-Paul, who at 32 forges onward despite a medical history that includes an amputated right index finger (due to a fireworks accident) and a neck fracture (due to a 2019 car accident).
“The element of JPP is amazing,” defensive lineman William Gholston said Friday. “He’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met or played with. It’s crazy. I’ve never seen anybody like him.”
Pierre-Paul received a second opinion in Denver for his current injuries just last week, and the treatment called for rest. His possible presence Sunday would add savvy and energy to a beleaguered Bucs pass rush that has totaled three sacks in as many games.
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“I kind of told him, ‘Look, you’re traveling this week,’” Arians said. “He said, ‘If I’m traveling, I’m playing.’”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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