Will Tom Brady See Fans in the Stands For Buccaneers Home Debut?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Viewers watching the NFL’s first two Thursday Night Football games may have noticed something unexpected: fans in the stands.

The Chiefs had roughly 17,000 fans in the stadium for their opener last week. The Browns were allowed 6,000 fans in the stands on Thursday and those are two of just of a few teams that are allowed to have outsiders in their stadiums right now.

When Will the Buccaneers Have Fans at Home Games?

The Buccaneers won’t have fans in the stands for their home opener vs. the Panthers. Tampa Bay is expected to allow people in the building later in the season, though not until at least Week 6, the club’s third home game (vs. the Packers).

Tampa Bay’s Week 6 tilt won’t be their first matchup playing in front of live fans this season. That’ll be Week 3 vs. the Broncos, as Denver has been permitted to have 7.5% capacity (5,700 fans).

“We are not back to normal. Empower Field at Mile High will look and feel very different this year. In addition to mask and social distancing requirements, seating will be done in small pods and sections will be broken into groups,” VP of Strategic Initiatives Britney Bowlen said earlier this month. “Our organization is hopeful that this is the start to gradually increasing fans at Broncos games this season, but we understand that that takes the entire community, both on game days and in our daily lives doing our part.”

After the trip to Denver, the Buccaneers play the Chargers at home (no fans) and the Bears in Chicago (no fans) before their first home game with a crowd.

Latest on Tampa’s Pass-Catcher Injuries

Chris Godwin participated in practice on Friday, though he will need to undergo testing on Saturday and team doctors will need to clear him to play. It’s possible that he is upgraded to questionable, though he still faces hurdles to suit up in Week 2.

Godwin took a big hit from Saints safety D.J. Swearinger against the Saints on Sunday. The play resulted in a penalty but Godwin showed no signs of a concussion then or in the days after the contest.

The wideout is listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report.

Mike Evans, who was hindered by a hamstring injury leading up to Week 1, ultimately suited up last week and he’s set to play again in Week 2. He found little success in the opener, though much of that was a result of cornerback Marshon Lattimore blanketing him.

The Buccaneers have placed TE Anthony Auclair on injured reserve, the team announces. Auclair sustained a calf injury in the team’s opener vs. the Saints and he’ll be on the “minor IR,” which means he could return after a minimum of three games.

The move to put Auclair on IR gives the team an open roster spot. Tight end Tanner Hudson, who is on the practice squad, could be the guy though Bruce Arians hasn’t yet committed to a decision.

“That’s one of the decisions we’ll have to make in the next 48 hours,” said Arians. “Who we might bring up – it will be for special teams and Hud does do some stuff on special teams, too. It could be him or it could be a couple other guys.”

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