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It seems like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ offensive line will be without one of its key cogs for the 2022 season.
Center Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury on Thursday that the Bucs’ staff fears is season-ending, NFL Network reports.
Jensen went down in clear pain, letting out a scream on his way to the ground and tossed his helmet. Practice was briefly paused as trainers checked on him, but he was carted off and taken for tests.
General manager Jason Licht said after the practice that he felt “terrible” about his center.
“That usually happens when you have a player like Ryan, who’s obviously such a very good player but also a great person and leader,” he added, via The Athletic. “His toughness, things like that about him define him.”
Jensen has been a stalwart on the offensive line for half a decade, starting in 81 consecutive games dating back to the 2017 season.
Jensen signed a four-year deal with the Bucs back in 2018 and won Super Bowl LV with them. The team extended his contract three more years this past offseason, with $23 million guaranteed.
Tampa will now have to look at other options. Internally, it seems that 2021 third-rounder Robert Hainsey is the frontrunner to replace him. Former Cleveland Brown JC Tretter may be the best free agent available, but other options will come about as teams will make cuts down to their final 53.
The 31-year-old made his first Pro Bowl last year.