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While Bucs’ offense hobbles, secondary is nearly back at full strength

Every primary member of the secondary practiced Wednesday except Antoine Winfield Jr.
Bucs safety Mike Edwards returned to practice Wednesday following a three-game suspension from the NFL for misrepresenting his vaccination status.
Bucs safety Mike Edwards returned to practice Wednesday following a three-game suspension from the NFL for misrepresenting his vaccination status. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Dec. 22, 2021

TAMPA — Having been denied concurrent good health since the dawn of the regular season, the Bucs at least received a consolation prize of sorts Wednesday.

A mostly healthy secondary, for a change.

On the same day tailback Leonard Fournette (hamstring), receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) and inside linebacker Lavonte David (foot) missed practice, nearly every safety and cornerback participated in the team’s late-morning walkthrough at AdventHealth Training Center.

Related: Bucs' Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David done for regular season

Deep safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (foot), who didn’t play in Sunday’s 9-0 loss to the Saints, remained the only absentee. Safety Mike Edwards, back from a three-game suspension, participated. So did cornerback Richard Sherman, sidelined Sunday with an Achilles injury; and cornerback Jamel Dean, also absent versus the Saints due to illness.

Coach Bruce Arians said Edwards, out since the Nov. 28 game at Indianapolis, is “in really good shape.” As for Dean?

“He’s fine now, he cleared up,” Arians added. “It might have been residual from the concussion (against the Falcons on Dec. 5), but we never really could put that together.”

Should Winfield recover in time for Sunday’s game at Carolina, the Bucs would have their entire starting secondary from Super Bowl 55 (Dean, fellow corners Sean Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis, safety Jordan Whitehead and Winfield) available for the first time this season.

Arians said he’d have a better idea of Winfield’s status Thursday and Friday.

“It felt good, hearing their voices again back there,” veteran inside linebacker Kevin Minter said. “We’re at a decent point right now, but I know having those guys back can really set us over the top.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

Related: Bucs specialists Bradley Pinion, Ryan Succop must be better, Bruce Arians says

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