By Steven Levy
Brian Price is now a member of the Chicago Bears. Good luck to him and to them. This is an abrupt departure for another high draft pick on the defensive line. Gaines Adams, the late former #1 draft pick was also traded to the Chicago Bears.
There’s a lot of conjecture about exactly why Price was traded. Price has had nothing but bad luck since the moment he was drafted. Last year he had to deal with a very unique injury where both hamstrings had to be reattached to his pelvis. This resulted in him playing at around 60% all season. This offseason his beloved sister, matriarch of his family was killed in a car accident (previously 2 of his brothers were killed in gang violence), and his emotional state was very fragile. He was hospitalized in Tampa for almost a week with depression.
All of that is unfortunate but the final straw came on the day before training camp when he was unable to complete the Bucs new conditioning drill after rehabbing in LA. The conditioning drill is the old school 16 X 110 yard sprints with 45 seconds of rest between sprints. Mike Tomlin employed this same conditioning scheme when he took over as Steelers head coach in 2007. Price was able to complete 3 or 4 before feeling a pop in his hamstring and pulling up lame. It’s unfortunate. Price seems like a good kid and he has a great first step. He reminds me of Tim Bowens from Miami in the 90’s. If he can stay healthy both physically and emotionally the Bears will have themselves a player and good 3 technique nose tackle.
So where does this leave the Bucs? Well generally it leaves them with Amobi Okoye and Gary Gibson as the primary options for the vacant left DT spot. And among those two Gibson is a better fit as the less stout Okoye would be a more natural fit in the right DT/Under Tackle spot. Of course the hope is that Gerald McCoy will man that spot all season.
The Bucs aren’t done of course. There will be players cut as well as added all the way until final roster cuts (see Dez Briscoe, et.al). The Bucs may luck out with a decent player who doesn’t fit a team’s scheme. Or less likely the Bucs could trade for a player. Regardless, the Brian Price era, which never really had a chance to begin, is now over.