Right after Tom Brady came out of retirement this offseason to rejoin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Buccaneers re-signed free agent center Ryan Jensen. Jensen, 31, has been the Bucs’ starting center since joining them on a four-year, $42 million contract in 2018 that made him the league’s highest-paid center at that time. He’s been a key starter in front of Brady for the past two seasons. But that may be about to change, with Jensen (seen above during a Pro Bowl practice in February) carted off with a knee injury in the final period of Thursday’s practice:
Bucs center Ryan Jensen just went down. A golf cart came out to get him and all teammates huddled around him. He’s heading to the training room.
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) July 28, 2022
Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht and head coach Todd Bowles spoke to media after practice, saying they may not have a full update on Jensen’s status for days, but they’re all hoping this won’t be severe. Here’s more on that from Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times:
“Right now, we feel terrible for Jensen,” Licht said. “Don’t have any update on that. We won’t for some time. We have some tests you have to wait a couple days before you can get them. You have to wait for swelling and things like that to go down.”
…Bowles talked about players needing to take care of each other but said he wasn’t sure how the injury occurred.
“It’s unfortunate right now because there was nothing fancy going on in there,” he said. “We’ve got to look at the tape and see what happened but it didn’t look like anything as far as how it happened. I don’t know. We’ve got to take a look at the tape and hope for the best.”
The media window was closed at this part of practice, but a fan in attendance appears to have taken video of the injury, which seemed to result from another player landing on Jensen:
The practice video window was closed to the media at this point (but evidently not to fans) https://t.co/DhPYViJSp2
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) July 28, 2022
Jensen has long been a very capable center, and he earned a Pro Bowl nod last year. Brady has often been particular about who’s snapping him the ball, making bringing back Jensen an especially important priority for the Bucs after Brady’s return. They signed him to a three-year, $39 million deal (with $24 million guaranteed) in March. Now they’ll have to see if he’ll be able to be ready for the season, or if they’ll have to shift to backup Robert Hainsey or someone else.