T.R. Smith, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback, was expected to be placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion during Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Smith underwent concussion protocol tests Monday, but coach Dirk Koetter did not want to speculate on the severity of Smith’s injury.
The Bucs (6-3) will now start Winston at quarterback for the first time since Winston was traded from the Denver Broncos to the Carolina Hurricanes in January.
The decision to put Winston on injured-reserve means that the team will not be able to match the $6 million guaranteed salary for his fifth year in the league.
Koetter said Monday that Winston has “a couple things going on” that are affecting his health.
“He’s definitely going to be out for awhile,” Koetter told reporters.
“We’re not going to say too much, but I can tell you that he’s not 100 percent.”
Koetter’s comments came after Winston had a strong night in his return from a two-week absence, completing 26 of 38 passes for 302 yards and a touchdown, including an 84-yarder to DeSean Jackson that sent the game into overtime.
“Obviously it was a tough game to come back from,” Winston said.
“But that’s the nature of football.
It’s all about playing through it.”
Koetters comments came one day after Bucs defensive tackle Michael Johnson had his helmet damaged during a play.
Koetchers team is now 1-2 on the season.
“The biggest thing I’m really concerned about is what he’s doing in practice,” Koeters coach Dirk Nussmeier said.
“(T.J.) is a guy that we all like.
He’s a very bright kid.
But right now we’re very concerned about him. “
It’s really up to him and we’ll see how he goes from here.
If he can go, great, if he can not go, I’m not sure how it would play out.” “
If he can’t go, we’re going to make a change.
If he can go, great, if he can not go, I’m not sure how it would play out.”
The Bucs’ bye week is Wednesday, Oct. 18, and then the Bucs host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
Tampa Bay is 7-4 with Winston as the starter, including a 3-1 record in the season series.
The Buccaneers are 1-5 when Winston misses time.
Koetters team also had an MRI on quarterback Matt Hasselbeck Monday morning.
Koeter said he had no concerns about the quarterback’s status.
“You can’t say you’re worried about him, but we’re really concerned,” Koeteers coach said.