Tampa Bay Buccaneers star left guard Carl Nicks is one of the best player’s in the game at the position, but he hasn’t been able to show that to Buccaneers fans after signing a mega-deal with the team in the 2012 offseason. His toe injury and complications nearly caused him to retire, and his status for 2014 was in plenty of doubt coming into the offseason. While there is no guarantee that Nicks will be fine, it sounds like most people expect him to get back on the field and be productive (it will probably take him time to be a dominant force at guard again) this year. Lovie Smith and the Bucs haven’t committed to anything, but it sounds like they are preparing for Nicks’s return.
More importantly, it sounds like Nicks is preparing to return, as the Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings reports that the 28-year-old is looking to get back on the field again in training camp. Nicks won’t participate in OTAs, but that would have been an overly optimistic prognostication. A return for training camp is good enough for someone whose career was once up-in-the-air, and it’s great to word that Nicks is “confident” that this will be the year he gets back on the field after playing in just nine games for the Bucs in his first two seasons.
The Buccaneers offensive line looks a lot different now with Donald Penn, Jeremy Zuttah, and Davin Joseph gone and Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith coming in, and the Buccaneers run-centric offense will certainly be much better off with an All-Pro-caliber player back in the fold at guard. Heck, I’m sure Josh McCown (or whoever else plays QB) will appreciate having Nicks starting in between two big offseason signings on the OL.