Buccaneers’ New Tight End to Play vs. Washington, Says Bruce Arians

Bruce Arians Buccaneers

Getty The Buccaneers will sit Rob Gronkowski and play Darren Fells in Week 10.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will suit up a new tight end on Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

According to head coach Bruce Arians on Friday, November 12, the Buccaneers will play Darren Fells — who was signed to the practice squad earlier this week — in Week 10.

Via Greg Auman of The Athletic:

“Talking on 953WDAE, Arians said new tight end Darren Fells will play Sunday “for sure,” which reinforces that Gronkowski won’t be able to go and he’ll need Fells as a third tight end,” said Auman.

Fells was released by the Detroit Lions earlier in the week. The 35-year-old tight end started five of the first seven games of the season for Detroit, catching four passes for 43 yards.

The veteran tight end previously played for Arians while the two were members of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 until 2015. Fells caught 40 passes for 536 yards and four touchdowns while starting 24 of 38 games during his three seasons in Arizona.

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Gronkowski Will Not Play vs. Washington

Arians later confirmed on Friday that Rob Gronkowski will not play versus Washington due to his back injury. He also ruled out wide receiver Antonio Brown and cornerback Rashard Robinson for Week 10.

The Bucs head coach hinted on Thursday, November 11, during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Gronkowski might not be healthy for another two or three weeks.

“We think in about two or three weeks he’ll be back to normal,” said Arians. “We have Darren Fells coming in this week, veteran player who has played well for us in the past. Love where we’re at that way. Gronk is going to get better. We’ll just make sure that’s he good when he gets back.”

He also revealed that Week 11 might be a better target date for Gronkowski’s return.

“I doubt it,” says Arians. “We think that next week is a better timeframe for him. We kind of pushed it with the New Orleans thing. I want him ready to go the whole distance when we’re ready to go.”

The absence of Gronkowski means that Fells — just days after signing with the Buccaneers — will suit up as the third tight end alongside O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.

Godwin Could Still Play in Week 10

While three key players are ruled out for certain for Week 10, there’s still a chance that Chris Godwin plays.

The Buccaneers’ starting receiver has dealt with a foot ailment all week. Godwin did not practice Monday, Wednesday or Thursday of this week. However, he did return to practice for Friday’s session.

Godwin will be a game-time decision versus Washington, says Arians.

“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Arians said of Godwin. “He looked OK today but we’ll see how he is tomorrow. [He did] just enough to look OK. We’ll see how he is.”

The potential absence of Godwin, receiver Scotty Miller and Gronkowski leaves a major void for the Buccaneers.

It leaves the possibility that another new signee — Breshad Perriman — could be activated in time for Sunday’s tilt versus Washington.

“He looks fine. He remembered a lot of stuff. We’ll see how it goes for this week, but he looks good,” Arians said when asked if Perriman would be ready. “I don’t think there’s any problem.”

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