NFL NEWS: Carl Nicks
Carl Nicks’ release from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday signaled an unremarkable end for the often injured two-year run for the former Pro-Bowl guard.
Nicks was one of three major acquisitions in 2012 during free agency of then head coach Greg Schiano. Joined by wide receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright (formerly of the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions, respectively), he signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract. The big three were considered among the hottest commodities in 2012 offseason, but now only Jackson remains.
While character issues and a failed physical forced Wright from the team in 2013, foot problems plagued Nicks’ tenure with the Bucs. Nicks was placed on injured reserve October 30, 2012 with a toe injury that required surgery half-way through the season.
Prior to the start of the 2013 season, Nicks was diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a contagious and potentially life-threatening disease. Kicker Lawrence Tynes, who was signed to replace Connor Barth with his season-ending injury, was also infected with MRSA and became inactive for the year. Tynes is in pending litigation with the team.
Prior to 2012, Nicks never missed a game in his career garnering two Pro Bowl selections with the New Orleans Saints. While the move Friday appeared to be amicable, the injuries sustained during his nine-game stint suggest his career might be over.
The move isn’t surprising given the lack of return of investment. It signifies another passing chapter of a team with squandered potential.
Without Nicks, the Bucs are left with an even greener offensive line. Jamon Meredith is the only guard on the team with more than a season’s worth of starts with 24 in 46 games. The next most experienced guard is Oniel Cousins, who saw time with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, with nine starts in 59 games.
Other guards include second-year man Patrick Omameh was signed away from the San Francisco 49er practice squad and rookie Kadeem Edwards. Don’t be surprised if head coach Lovie Smith holds more open tryouts at the position as training camp continues.