Gerald McCoy played in each of the first 13 games of the 2017 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and played well enough to earn his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl invitation. In the 13th game, however, he suffered a biceps injury and missed much of his team’s narrow loss to the Detroit Lions.
The injury was notable not only because it took one of the Buccaneers’ best defenders out of the lineup but because McCoy’s first two NFL seasons – the only ones that did not land him in the Pro Bowl – were interrupted by biceps injuries that required surgery. In this case, McCoy avoided surgery and worked hard to make it back for the Buccaneers’ 14th game, against Atlanta on Monday Night Football.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, he was not cleared to play, and he joined his fellow defensive captain, linebacker Lavonte David, on the sideline that evening as the Bucs lost another three-point nail-biter to the Falcons. Given that Tampa Bay had been eliminated from playoff contention and there were only two games left, it would not have been unusual for McCoy (or David for that matter) to be shut down for the season’s final fortnight.
That could have happened, if it was medically necessary, as was the case at the same point of his rookie season. That’s the only way it would have happened, because nothing else was going to keep McCoy off the field against Carolina in Week 16 and New Orleans in Week 17. McCoy says there was nothing difficult about suiting
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has something to say to all those who believe he shouldn’t be playing right now because of a bicep injury and the fact that, at 4-11, the Bucs are playing meaningless football.
“That’s a loser’s mindset,” said the six-time Pro Bowler, who’s also the franchise’s highest-paid player. He played against the Carolina Panthers last week despite suffering a partially-torn bicep and will play Sunday in the season finale against the New Orleans Saints.
“That’s a terrible mindset to have. Anybody who says that to me, I just think that’s a losing mindset,” McCoy said. “Regardless of what our record says, ‘What do you mean, I ain’t got nothing to play for? I’ve been working to be a professional athlete my entire life so you think that just because I’ve got a little pain that I’m not gonna play, because we’re not going to the playoffs?”
“Come on man,” McCoy said. “That’s what suckers do and that’s what losers do and I ain’t neither one. I go out there and give it my all, regardless of what the record says, regardless of what people think I have to play for – I’m playing for something much bigger than wins and losses.”
McCoy suffered the injury to his right bicep in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions, forcing him to miss the Week 15 game against the Atlanta Falcons. He returned to action against the Carolina Panthers in Week 16, recording his sixth sack of the season.
The concern for McCoy’s arm is understandable. He suffered a torn bicep in his right arm his rookie season in 2010 and then torn his left bicep in 2011, having both surgically repaired. Despite soreness, McCoy doesn’t believe he’s at risk for further injuring it.
“A little pain? Man, whatever. If I can go, I’m going,” I don’t care what’s at stake.”
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has come under scrutiny for opting to suit up starting quarterback Matthew Stafford in Week 17 despite the Lions officially being out of the playoffs. Stafford has been sacked a career-high 45 times this year. Like Koetter, Caldwell is also on the hot seat, with an 8-7 record going into Week 17.
Caldwell told reporters, “I don’t have to give you every single reason, but the fact of the matter is we get 16 opportunities, and we’re going to go play it.”
The Green Bay Packers shut down starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the year. He’d missed the majority of the season due to a broken collarbone, and once the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs, they deemed that it wasn’t worth the risk.
McCoy plays a different position than Stafford and Rodgers, but he is the Bucs’ highest-paid player, earning nearly $16 million per season with the entire value of his contract at $95.2 million. He is also just five players in Bucs’ history to reach the Pro Bowl six or more times, so his value can’t be overstated.
“I love to play this game, any team I’m on. I love this team, I love this city, this city has embraced me, regardless of the few people who say terrible stuff about me – oh well, I’m not worried about the,” McCoy said. “But this city has really embraced me and they deserve a winner. And I play and give it my all for this city and this team for the guys around me. I’m always gonna be that way, regardless of what we’re playing for, what people think we’re playing for. I don’t care. I’m gonna give it everything I got.”