The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without Devin White against the Falcons in Week 17 after the star linebacker tested positive for COVID-19 according to multiple reports. The news means the Bucs linebacker could also miss their Wild Card playoff matchup, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“White must isolate for 10 days, meaning he most likely will miss the first playoff game,” Rapoport tweeted.
Linebacker Shaq Barrett has also been placed on the COVID-19 list but early indications are he has not tested positive for COVID-19. Barrett will miss the Bucs’ Week 17 matchup against the Falcons but is expected back for the playoffs.
“Bucs LB Devin White tested positive for COVID-19, while teammate Shaq Barrett landed on the COVID list as a close contact, sources tell me and
@RapSheet,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero noted on Twitter. “Both are out for Sunday, but Barrett would be on track to return for the wild-card round if he keeps testing negative.”
According to Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, defensive tackle Steve McLendon has also been placed on the COVID list and will miss the team’s matchup against the Falcons. It is unknown whether McLendon tested positive for the virus or is on the list as a close contact. Since arriving in Tampa mid-season, McLendon has been a key rotational player on the defensive line.
White Tweeted That He Will Be Ready for the Postseason
White indicated in a now-deleted tweet that he will be available in the postseason. The Athletic’s Greg Auman posted a screenshot of White’s message where the linebacker noted, “I will be ready to go for the playoff game.”
“Please stop tweeting me! I have had the same routine all season long,” White said in the deleted tweet. “Going to practice & straight home! I feel perfectly fine & I will be ready to go for the playoff game.”
Barrett’s Wife Jordanna: ‘We Were Not the Ones Who Were Reckless & Exposed the Team’
Barrett’s wife Jordanna posted a message to her Instagram Story indicating her husband was added to the COVID list as a close contact. She added that Barrett will be back for the postseason and appeared to call out an unnamed member of the Buccaneers.
“Can’t control other’s people’s actions. Just our own,” Jordanna explained on her Instagram Story. “Regardless of how safe we have been…and following every [precaution] possible. Sometimes people choose other choices that result in unfair circumstances. But rest assured to everyone asking. We were not the ones who were reckless and exposed the team. So to the fans mad…some things are out of our control. It is what it is. Shaquil will be back for playoffs.”
Prior to the news, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians emphasized that the team knew they had a chance this season if they “beat the virus.” While it is unclear if any of these three players will miss the postseason, it is not the kind of news the Bucs wanted to find out as they close the regular season.
“I think our guys made a commitment in August to each other, that if we beat the virus, we’d have a chance,” Arians explained, via Buccaneers.com. “If we stayed healthy, we’d have a chance to beat some teams that didn’t. Last week was an example. The season is not over. This is a big game coming up – a chance to keep that five seed and go 11-5. I think we’ll think about all that when we can look in the rear-view mirror. Right now, we’re still looking ahead. It’s not really a time to reflect yet.”