Depleted Bucs secondary could get veteran Logan Ryan back for Monday night

The 31-year-old safety said the final decision rests with Todd Bowles and the medical staff.
Published Dec. 1, 2022|Updated Dec. 4, 2022

TAMPA — If it were exclusively his call, Bucs safety Logan Ryan would make his highly anticipated return to the secondary Monday night against the Saints.

But the 31-year-old veteran, sidelined since breaking his foot in a Week 4 loss to the Chiefs, said he’s leaving that decision “to the doctors who care more about my body than I probably do.”

“As a competitor, of course I want to be out there Monday,” added Ryan, who was designated to return from injured reserve earlier this week. “But I need to dominate the practice field and prove to them that I can play as quickly as I can off this injury. So my goal is just to look great in practice. You’ve got to ask (coach) Todd (Bowles) how I look.”

Bowles, whose secondary already could be missing safeties Mike Edwards (hamstring) and Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle), said Ryan’s status likely will depend on his performance the next few days. Neither Edwards nor Winfield practiced Thursday.

By being designated to return, Ryan has a three-week window in which he can practice without counting against the 53-man roster limit. He can be activated at any point during that span.

“We’ve got to see a couple more days of practice before we (activate him), though,” Bowles said after Thursday’s practice. “But he moved around well (Thursday).”

Ryan never has missed more than two regular season games in nine previous NFL seasons. He had surgery six weeks ago and indicated his goal all along was to return to practice this week.

“That’s been the hardest thing, just feeling like I’m letting the team down by not being there,” he said. “But I’ve been there in group chats, I’ve been there on the sideline. Trust me, I’ve been in their ear as much as possible, so they probably want to see if I can still play and stop telling them everything.”

As for Edwards and Winfield, Bowles didn’t convey optimism over their availability for the Saints game, meaning Keanu Neal and rookie Nolan Turner could be counted on more heavily.

“Right now, until we see something better later in the week, we plan to go with the other guys,” Bowles said.

Others not practicing Thursday were tight end Cameron Brate (illness), nose tackle Vita Vea (foot) and right tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle/knee). Receiver Russell Gage, sidelined more than a month with a hamstring issue, participated on a limited basis.

“He’s practicing a little bit, we’ve just got to see more of him and what he can and can’t do,” Bowles said. “Everybody else (in the wide-receiver room) is pretty much healthy.”

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