Buccaneers injury report: Antoine Winfield to play in Super Bowl

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Mandatory Credit: Tori Richman/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Mandatory Credit: Tori Richman/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers got some good news on the injury front, as phenom rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was cleared for the Super Bowl.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to need all the defensive reinforcements and assistance they can get when they face off against the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs offense in Super Bowl LV this Sunday.

Fortunately, there’s a bit of good news on the injury front.

As reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bucs can expect back their up-and-coming star safety, Antoine Winfield Jr., from an ankle injury during the divisional round against the New Orleans Saints. Winfield subsequently missed Tampa Bay’s NFC Championship game win over the Green Bay Packers.

Additionally, strong safety Jordan Whitehead was removed off the injury report after dealing with a shoulder injury.

Whitehead and Winfield have combined to form one of the league’s best safety tandems. Winfield, in particular, has been exceptionally fun to watch this season and even went on to earn a spot on the PFWA all-rookie team after finishing a regular season where he recorded 94 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and six passes broken up.

The former Minnesota standout and second-round NFL Draft pick from 2020 received a commendable 67.1 overall grade this season from Pro Football Focus.

With Whitehead and Winfield integral parts, the Buccaneers defense managed to finish the regular season allowing an average of just 5.9 yards per pass play — eighth best in the league.

Against the Chiefs, who own the NFL’s top passing offense, players like Winfield and Whitehead are going to be vital.

Other Buccaneers injury updates

Tampa Bay could still be without wide receiver Antonio Brown, as he’s still listed as questionable with a knee injury. Meanwhile, tight end Cameron Brate (back) are also listed as questionable for the contest.

Brown, whose shaky and turbulent career as of late called into question his fit with the Bucs, has gone from a red flag to a team player since joining the squad last October. While he might not be the prolific No. 1 target for quarterback Tom Brady amid a stacked cast of offensive skill players, the Super Bowl could still provide Brown the opportunity to be a true X-factor.

Not unlike Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins was at points during last year’s Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.

Defenders Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, who didn’t practice during the week, also had their game designations lifted and should be able to play.

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Super Bowl LV kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 6:40 p.m. ET from Raymond James Stadium.