Last season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dealt a brutal blow at the very beginning of training camp. Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen was lost for the regular season with a knee injury that now jeopardizes the rest of his career.
Jensen returned last year for one game, the NFC Wild Card loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but to do so he elected not to have surgery to repair his knee. That injury continues to linger, as Jensen hasn't been able to participate at training camp this season and has yet to make his debut in pads.
It was already looking like Jensen wouldn't be ready for Week 1, especially since we haven't seen him in any game action yet. As it turns out, Jensen's fate might be far worse than initially thought, as there is reportedly growing concern that his knee injury might altogether bring an end to his time in Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers Rumors: Ryan Jensen will miss Week 1, if not more
According to JoeBucsFan, Ryan Jensen won't play in the team's regular season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. More than that, there are 'concerns' around the building that Jensen's career with the Bucs might be over.
"Also, there are concerns at One Buc Palace that Jensen may not play again for the Buccaneers, as his injured knee has not responded the way Jensen and the team hoped following his return from injury against the Cowboys in the playoffs last season," JoeBucsFan reported.
It's worth noting that no other Bucs insiders aren't reporting this same level of concern about Jensen's career, but JoeBucsFan had the news of Baker Mayfield being named the starting quarterback almost two weeks before it was actually revealed.
Take it with a grain of salt, but the situation is definitely something worth monitoring on a few different levels.
Obviously, the worst-case scenario is that Jensen's career is over because of the lingering effects of the knee injury. Even if he does come back and play, it's looking like the Bucs won't have him healthy for at least the first few weeks of the season. Once he returns, it's unclear which version of the Pro Bowler we're going to get.
One of the biggest things that worked against the Bucs last season was the loss of Jensen in training camp. His absence cast a pall over the entire season and was a microcsim of what ultimately derailed Tom Brady's final season in Tampa Bay.
Through two preseason games the Bucs offensive line is already looking like a liability again. The run game hasn't been able to get going behind it, Tristain Wirfs is playing a new position this year, and a lot is being expected out of guys like Cody Mauch and Luke Goedeke.
It was already looking like an uphill battle, one that just got increasingly more difficult with the latest word on Ryan Jensen.