TAMPA ― Ronald Jones was the Bucs’ third-leading rusher behind Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard in Sunday’s loss to the Saints.
But that doesn’t mean coach Bruce Arians has any interest in dealing Jones before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Speculation about Jones being available through a trade intensified again Monday with the news that Titans running back Derrick Henry is expected to miss significant time after suffering a foot injury that will require surgery.
Jones rushed three times for 13 yards and caught one pass for six yards in Sunday’s 36-27 loss at New Orleans. He has 194 yards rushing on 44 carries (4.4 avg.) this year, one season removed from leading the Bucs with 978 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 regular season games.
But Fournette has won the starting role and Jones has not had more than 10 rushing attempts in a game this season.
“It would have to be something really, really special, because I love the way he’s running and it’s just one nick on Leonard and RoJo is the guy again,” Arians said Monday. “It’s still a great 1-2 punch. It would have to be something extraordinary.”
Gronk’s back spasms related to previous injury
Tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to the lineup Sunday after missing four games with fractured ribs. But he participated in only six plays before suffering back spasms that ended his day.
Arians, who said in retrospect it was a bad decision to play Gronkowski, indicated the back spasms are related to the Week 3 injury Gronkowski suffered against the Rams.
“It’s all connected,” Arians said.
Arians said he’s hopeful the Bucs will get defensive backs Sean Murphy-Bunting (dislocated elbow) and Carlton Davis (quad) back sometime after the the bye week.”
“I think we’ll know more when we get back,” Arians said, “but Sean and Carlton look like they’re making really good progress and (receiver) Scott Miller.”
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