Key Buccaneers Receiver Sustains Likely Season-Ending Injury: Report

Russell Gage

Getty Russell Gage is carted off the field during the Buccaneers' 2023 playoff matchup against the Cowboys.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing for wide receiver Russell Gage to miss the entire season, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“Bucs WR Russell Gage suffered a non-contact knee injury during today’s joint practice with the [New York] Jets and the belief heading into exams is that the severe injury will end his season, per me and @MikeGarafolo,” Rapoport tweeted on August 16. “A hit to WR depth and crushing for Gage.”

Gage was expected to be Tampa Bay’s No. 3 receiver alongside Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. The veteran notched 51 receptions for 426 yards and 5 touchdowns in 13 appearances in 2022. Joe Bucs Fan described the series of events that led to Gage’s injury.

“Looks like a serious injury to Russell Gage,” Joe Bucs Fan detailed on X (formerly known as Twitter) on August 16. “Went out for a short pass to the left from Baker Mayfield. Ball came in relatively low. Gage made catch and seemed to routinely pushed to the ground by Jetrs player in the joint practice. He’s been down 2 minutes.”

Can Trey Palmer Win the Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR3 Spot Following Russell Gage’s Injury?

Fans may remember Gage was carted off the field during the team’s playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys in January after sustaining a scary hit. The Buccaneers were able to snag the longtime Atlanta Falcons receiver on a three-year, $30 million contract during the 2022 offseason. Given the impressive training camp that rookies Trey Palmer and Rakim Jarrett have had, there is now a chance the Bucs could turn to one of their first-year wideouts to be the team’s new third receiver.

David Moore would be the early favorite to win the job, but fans should expect an intense competition for the role. Palmer notched four receptions for 33 yards and caught a spectacular touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield during the team’s first preseason outing against the Steelers. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles is already high on Palmer’s potential to contribute.

“The biggest thing was he flashed in the game,” Bowles explained during his August 13 press conference. “You can flash in practice because it’s kind of — you can’t touch most of the guys and they’re running free most of the time.

“But he flashed in the game and he flashed not just on offense but special teams, as well,” Bowles said. “That gave me a lot of confidence and I looked at him more and he’s a guy that’s very noticeable right now.”

Trey Palmer Posted 71 Catches for 1,043 Yards & 9 Touchdowns at Nebraska in 2022

There are plenty of reasons to be bullish on Palmer’s upside, starting with his speed. Palmer ran the 40 in a blazing 4.33 seconds at the 2023 NFL combine but somehow managed to slip to the sixth round.

He posted 71 catches for 1,043 yards and 9 touchdowns at Nebraska in 2022. Heading into the draft,’s Lance Zierlein described Palmer as “an athletic mover with good leaping ability.”

“Former five-star recruit who made a name for himself at Nebraska after leaving LSU,” Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft profile. “Palmer’s route running is raw, but coachable. He’s an athletic mover with good leaping ability and a quiet engine that can unleash a big second gear to chase the deep throw.

“Getting Palmer to play to his top speed and with a consistent competitiveness will be the challenge, as his ball skills are below average. The athleticism and speed will be tempting on Day 3, but his upside could be limited.”

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