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Buccaneers Rule Three Out vs. Dolphins; Pierre-Paul, Dean to Play

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without two starters, while returning two others, on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians ruled tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and defensive lineman Pat O'Connor out of Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins, while speaking with media on Friday.

Arians had good news to share as well, however, as outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerback Jamel Dean are expected to suit up following injuries of their own.

Gronkowski will miss his second consecutive game while he recovers from a rib injury suffered against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. The Buccaneers sorely missed Gronkowski's presence against the New England Patriots a week ago as the team was unable to score a passing touchdown in the red zone or move the ball much at all within the 20-yard line.

In three games this season, Gronkowski has posted 16 receptions for 184 yards and four touchdowns.

Winfield Jr., one of Tampa Bay's top defensive backs, exited the Patriots game with a concussion last Sunday and has remained in the NFL's concussion protocol ever since. He's recorded 25 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and two pass breakups in 2021.

O'Connor was added to the injury report this week with a hurt calf and did not participate in practice. O'Connor primarily contributes on special teams, taking the field for 112 snaps in that department this year.

Dean's return to play is welcomed as the Buccaneers are extremely thin at cornerback, as top corner Carlton Davis III went on the injured reserve with a quad injury this week. Neither Davis nor nickel corner Sean Murphy-Bunting, who went on injured reserve after Week 1 with a dislocated elbow, are expected back "anytime soon," according to Arians.

Pierre-Paul missed the Patriots and Rams game as he's rehabbed a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the season. Rookie edge rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka filled Pierre-Paul's spot well in his two starts, tallying four tackles, two sacks, a defended pass and four quarterback hits in that span.

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