Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard is believed to have suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, head coach Bruce Arians announced after the game.
Howard had three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown before he left the game in the second half.
Tampa Bay went on to win 38-31 as Tom Brady connected with five different players, including Howard, for receiving scores.
“He was having a great, great game,” Arians said of Howard.
“I thought Tommy was going to throw it to him for the touchdown when he threw it to Ke’Shawn (Vaughn), but it looks like he has a ruptured Achilles and will probably be done for the year.”
The 25-year-old is in his fourth season with Tampa Bay, which selected him in the first round (No. 19 overall) out of Alabama in 2017.
He has 105 receptions for 1,602 yards and 14 touchdowns with the Bucs.
Brady was saddened by the seriousness of the injury.
“It’s a tough injury,” Brady said. “I think everyone feels for O.J. and what his commitment’s been to the team through the offseason, training camp — he’s just been a great player for us. It sucks to lose him. It’s a tough injury.”
Howard has 11 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
The absence of Howard could increase the importance of Rob Gronkowski in the Tampa Bay passing game.
Gronkowski had one catch for 29 yards on Sunday, giving him nine receptions for 88 yards on the season.
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