The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were without stud linebacker Lavonte David last Sunday in Chicago. The Bucs' new ironman doesn't miss practice, much less games. So when he was missing practices during the early stages this week, it was unclear if he would miss his second game in a row.
Fortunately for both sides, David was upgraded to limited participation in practice on Friday. He'll be a gametime decision for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at home. Head coach Lovie Smith talked about what David means to the team.
"Best outside linebacker in ball out there running around, getting closer to being full speed – that’s a good thing," Smith said. "Hamstrings, you have to be careful with them though. You can feel a lot better and you stop having pain, but you’re not quite there yet. Lavonte is close and that is definitely a big boost for our defense.”
David has 116 total tackles and two forced fumbles on the year. His 14 tackles for loss are second among linebackers in the league.
Although David's numbers don't come close to those of prior seasons, his play may finally be rewarded. According to the latest Pro Bowl votes from the NFL, David is fifth among outside linebackers in votes. Last season's Pro Bowl featured six players from his position to make the trip to the NFL's All-Star game. If voting holds up and fans continue to vote for him from now through December 15 which is when voting is scheduled to close.
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