TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Mason’s Foster’s career-long string of game-day appearances will come to an end Sunday in Detroit. The starting middle linebacker was ruled out against the Lions because of a concussion.
“He still has symptoms, and if there’s any doubt they’re not going to play,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “We did the same thing last week with Da’Quan Bowers. It’s not ankle or a wrist or something, it’s his brain and this the best thing to do.’’
The Bucs also will be without starting S Dashon Goldson, who is serving a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Falcons WR Roddy White in Sunday’s 41-28 victory.
Second-year converted cornerback Keith Tandy is expected to start for Goldson, while Adam Hayward likely get the nod at middle linebacker, though Schiano will use a variety of players there.
“We’ll have some different combinations at linebacker to fill in for Mason,” Schiano said. “And with Dashon down, we’re obviously going to need to have some guys step up for us. But I have full confidence they will.’’
Foster had appeared in all 42 games since the Bucs drafted him in the third round in 2011. He started 39 of those, including 31 of the past 32.
He ranks third on the team with 55 tackles and fourth with four tackles-for-loss. He also has two sacks and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns.
Holding the line
The Bucs ventured deep into their depth chart at left guard before turning to Jamon Meredith three weeks ago.
Better late than never.
Tampa Bay averaged only 96 yards rushing while losing their first seven games amid a revolving door at left guard caused by the loss of Carl Nicks to a MRSA infection. Meredith is the fifth player to start at the position, following Gabe Carimi, Nicks, Ted Larsen and Jeremy Zuttah.
“I’m proud of Jamon,’’ Bucs LT Donald Penn said Friday, regarding Meredith’s contributions during the past three games as Tampa Bay averaged 177 yards on the ground. “When he got his chance, he was ready to go.’’
Meredith, 27, started the final 12 games for the Bucs at right guard in 2012, but Davin Joseph’s return from knee surgery dispatched Meredith back to the bench.
“Jamon is a tough, tough guy,’’ Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “He’s hungry. We’re really counting on him, particularly this Sunday with the great (defensive) tackles Detroit has.’’
The Packers selected Meredith in the fifth round of the 2009 draft and he also spent time with the Bills, Giants and Steelers before Tampa Bay signed him as an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season.
“Jamon’s jumped around a little bit from team to team,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “He’s kind of settled in here and is doing a good job for us.’’
The Bucs nominated WR Vincent Jackson for the third annual Salute to Service Award, presented by the NFL and USAA, the NFL’s official Military Appreciation sponsor. The son of parents with a combined 25 years of active-duty service in the Army, Jackson has dedicated his community outreach to supporting the armed forces.
On Veterans’ Day in 2012, he officially launched the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation to support military families, with a focus on the educational, emotional and physical health of the families’ children. Jackson has also taken part in multiple events at nearby MacDill Air Force Base.
The winner will be named during the annual NFL Honors awards show in New York the day before the Super Bowl. Chicago CB Charles Tillman was last year’s winner.