Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul back practicing after neck fracture
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the back foot seven weeks in as their defense struggles to stop opponents from scoring. However, they’re set to get a huge boost for their game against the Tennessee Titans as defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has joined the team’s practice sessions early this week.
The team confirmed that the 30-year-old defensive end has progressed well in his rehabilitation and should be able to play if things go according to plan for the team. The coaching staff is happy with the way he’s performed on the field so far.
“[He did] everything. He had contact last week with pads on. … He’s a little rusty, but it was good,” coach Bruce Arians said. “A lot will depend on how he feels Thursday after Wednesday’s practice in pads. And we’ll judge it from there.”
Some Bucs fans may even consider that his return to pro football is nothing short of a miracle. He suffered a neck fracture in a car accident last May. While it’s fortunate that he only got away with a neck fracture, the team definitely missed his presence on defense. He finished his first season in Tampa Bay with 58 tackles, two pass deflections, forced a fumble, and recovered one.
The defender is feeling good about himself and is hopeful for a Week 8 return.
“It felt great. It’s been a long journey,” Pierre-Paul said. “I’ve still got a lot going on, but it’s been great being with my teammates. … I feel good.”
Given the way the Tampa Bay defense has been, he’ll definitely be a huge boost.