By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost one of Tom Brady’s targets for the rest of the season. Tight end O.J. Howard tore his Achilles in the team’s game on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Howard has been added to the team’s season-ending injured reserve. He had his fourth-year end after just four games.
“I was actually watching O.J. because I thought the ball was going there,” Head Coach Bruce Arians said on Monday. “Unfortunately, that’s when he got hurt.”
His fifth-year option is guaranteed due to injury. So, he will return to the Buccaneers in 2021.
Without Howard in the lineup, Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will have to count on Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate more.
Both Howard and Brate caught two of Brady’s five touchdowns in the win over the Chargers. It was the first-time that Brady threw five touchdowns in a game since 2017.
The 2017 first-round draft pick has been battling injuries throughout his career. He had an ankle injury that ruined part of his rookie season.
Then, his second-season in 2018, he was hampered by foot and ankle injuries.
“It’s a tough injury,” Brady said after the game Sunday, when the initial fear was that Howard would be done for the season. “I think everyone feels for O.J. and what his commitment’s been to the team through the offseason [and] training camp. He’s just been a great player for us and it sucks to lose him. It’s a tough injury.”
Before his injury, he appeared in four games, including one start. He had 11 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Howard has appeared in 42 games, including 37 starts. He has 105 receptions for 1,602 yards and 14 touchdowns.
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