Bruce Arians Reveals Plan for Injured Buccaneers Starter

Tom Brady and A.Q. Shipley

Getty Tom Brady and A.Q. Shipley celebrated a touchdown in Week 10.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians confirmed Friday the status of a recently-injured starter.

Arians told the media in Friday’s press conference that center A.Q. Shipley has suffered a career-ending neck injury, confirmed by doctors. Shipley will go on the injured reserve list, ending his season, and start coaching according to Arians.

“Once we had the MRI and the X-rays, it was determined he really shouldn’t play anymore,” Arians said in the press conference. “He aspires to be a coach, and I think he’s going to be a great one, so we’ll get him started to make sure he likes this life.”

Shipley, who started the past two games, sustained the injury in Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Arians said in the postgame press conference that Shipley suffered a “stinger.” The coach revealed on SiriusXM Radio Wednesday that he later learned the injury was more serious.

Arians said Friday that the neck injury is cervical and added delivering the news to Shipley on career status was “really hard.”

“It’s harder than releasing somebody or cutting somebody that’s a veteran that has finally hit the wall doesn’t want to really admit it,” Arians said. “To have an injury stop it so suddenly, it’s really hard on him. It’s hard on me.”

“He’s still very lucky,” Arians added. “He has all of his mobility, and he can play with those kids for a long time.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Shipley in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of Penn State. He started 72 of the 110 games he played in. He spent three seasons with Arians in Arizona before reuniting with him in Tampa Bay this fall.

The Athletic’s Greg Auman noted via Twitter that Shipley played for Arians in four different places during his career.


Shipley helped Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and the offense get back on track in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers. Shipley filled in at center for Ryan Jensen, who moved over to guard in place of injured guard Ali Marpet. In Shipley’s final game, he helped the Bucs’ offensive line shutout Rams star defensive end Aaron Donald.

Smith, Marpet in Doubt

Tackle Donovan Smith and Marpet remain doubtful for Sunday’s game, Arians said in Friday’s press conference.

Smith hasn’t practiced this week due to an ankle injury sustained during the Rams game, according to Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud.

“He’ll go out and try it before the game like we did in Detroit last year,” Arians said of Smith.

Marpet remains in concussion protocol after missing three games. ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported that Marpet has been practicing all week.

Dean Still Dinged

Cornerback Jamel Dean, who got injured with a concussion against the Rams, will be out for the Chiefs game Sunday.

“He will not make it this week,” Arians said in the press conference. “No chance taking any risk with him with an open date (next).”

Stroud wrote that Sean Murphy-Bunting will likely start in Dean’s spot. The second-year cornerback has 47 tackles, an interception, and two pass deflections this season.

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