Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. remains in the NFL concussion protocol as of Tuesday according to head coach Bruce Arians, ahead of Tampa Bay's Week 7 matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Arians said on Friday that he is hopeful Winfield Jr. will be available to play against the Bears, and the Bucs still have three days of practice ahead where Winfield Jr. could participate if he ends up clearing protocol.
Adding Winfield Jr. back into the lineup would boost the Buccaneers' secondary tremendously as the unit has been plagued by injuries. A playmaker when he's on the field, Winfield Jr. has tallied 25 tackles, an interception, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in four games this year.
With Winfield Jr. in the lineup, the Bucs could opt for three safeties on the field as cornerbacks Carlton Davis III, Richard Sherman, and Sean Murphy-Bunting are sidelined with injuries of their own for the time being. Winfield Jr. and fellow safety Jordan Whitehead are capable of playing closer to the line of scrimmage and covering the short-to-intermediate field as a nickel cornerback does in zone coverage.
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