Two-time Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks didn’t report for the starting of training camp along with the rest of his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates on Thursday and he may not be with them when workouts begin today.
Bucs coach Lovie Smith doesn’t seem too concerned.
Smith noted that Nicks’ absence, due to personal reasons he did not elaborate on, allows the Bucs to take a longer look at some of the other players they have at the guard spot seemingly reserved for Nicks.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Bucs have long since come to grips with two possibilities. The first is that Nicks may never play another down for them again. The other is that Nicks may never again play like the two-time Pro Bowler he was before he became beset by left foot problems.
It has now been 10 months since Nicks played in an NFL game. In the last 24 months, he has played in just nine games. Throw in Nicks’ admittance that he will have to ignore some degree of pain to play at all and it’s not a stretch to suggest he may no longer be the Bucs’ best option at left guard.
That’s why it will be interesting to see who the Bucs have taking reps at left guard when workouts begin this afternoon at One Buc Place. It will be encouraging if it’s Nicks, but even if it is, fans may want to pay close attention to who is taking reps Nicks isn’t getting.
With so much uncertainty surrounding Nicks’ future, that player may end up being the Bucs’ starter even if Nicks is still on the roster when opening day comes around.