Head Coach Greg Schiano
(On the news of a third Buccaneer being diagnosed with MRSA)
"What I'm going to do guys – and I know you just had [General Manager] Mark [Dominik] and Doc [Doctor Deverick Anderson] in here and everybody – they covered it in total. I'll just tell you, from the players' and coaches' standpoint, when we found out that there was another situation, certainly we were concerned and immediately did what we thought was best and that's get one of the premier people in the United States to talk to our team about it. It's that serious, in our mind, to alleviate as much anxiety as we could in our players' minds. I thought the over-an-hour meeting we had with Doctor Anderson was excellent. He spoke for a little bit and then it was literally close to an hour of guys just asking their questions that they really wanted to know the answers to, including coaches. As in anything, I think so much of the fear is the unknown, so, as we became better educated – everyone – we all kind of understand the game plan and how to make sure this doesn't become a bigger problem. That's why we did it. Then we went about our day and did what we normally do, so that's why we're, obviously, a little late getting in here today. Other than that, I'd like to just talk about the game since we already did this whole thing with Mark and Doc."
(On the players who may fill in for those affected by MRSA)
"[Guard] Carl [Nicks] everyone knows is involved. I'm not at liberty to talk about the other person who's got the MRSA [infection], but what we'll do, as in any situation, is we'll deal with the depth. You only have 53 guys on the active roster, so that's who we can choose from. We can't go out and choose anyone else, nor would we want to. We have the guys here, so we'll move some guys around if need be. I don't know what the final outcome is going to be on all the situations, so I'm not going to lock in anything in my mind right now other than have flexibility. That's why you train guys. We'll go out and play Buc football, whether it's the first-team guy, second-team guy or some mix-and-match of both. That's the plan."
(On how the newly-affected player will appear on the injury report)
"That's a very tricky question, and I understand how you have to ask it, but I can't get into the particulars because that's their right. If they ask not to be identified, then I won't get into that. You guys will get the injury report. I'm not dodging your question, but put yourself in my shoes, when the player doesn't want it out there. I know you've got to ask it though, I get it."
(On learning the news of Nicks' recurring case of MRSA)
"Unfortunately, not too long after I spoke to you did I get the definitive information. [I was] obviously very disappointed and then immediately concerned, because Carl, we've been through a lot together with this whole thing – obviously him a lot more than me, he's got the illness. I just feel for the guy, because he's busted his hump to do everything. Carl's a tough guy and makes light of everything, but some of that – it isn't easy what he's been through. And to feel like it's behind you, and then, all of a sudden, it's a tricky deal, as I'm sure Doc talked about. Medicine – as much as we'd like it to be an exact science, it's not. The thing that I do feel is the organization is doing everything we possibly can, and it starts at the top with our ownership. 'Whatever we need, go do it. Do what's best.' When you have that kind of support from the top, we'll get through this together. That's one thing that, in all these kind of situations, you see your guys come together. They're concerned for each other. I was really impressed today – because you work on football, football, football – but you sit there as a bunch of men who have families and you listen to guys ask questions. [There are] a lot of good guys in that room, a lot of good people."
(On if he anticipates that Nicks will have surgery)
"I think it's too soon for us to know that or speculate that, but there's certainly a protocol – and we've gone through it with docs – different steps, and Carl's gone through it. I think, right now, we've got to get this thing gone, and whatever that's going to take we're going to do. We're not going to go overboard, but whatever it's going to take, with the smartest people in the world who know how to fix this, that's what we're going to do and listen to them. Whenever I deal with medical [situations], I always ask, 'Give me best case to worst case [scenario],' so you get the whole gamut. So there's a lot of possibilities. Yeah, that's one of them in the whole gamut of things, sure."
(On offensive lineman Ted Larsen taking snaps at left guard in practice)
"I wouldn't read too much into that. Again, in the afternoon, we heard about it, so we have some different plans. Other guys have logged plays at the left guard as well, so I think we have some flexibility. What we're trying to do is create as much flexibility for this game. That's all we're worried about. I think we'll know a lot more going forward, medically, how we're going to be. Right now, we don't know what we're dealing with and what the protocol's going to be. We've just got to wait and see."
(On if offensive lineman Gabe Carimi will be able to play Sunday)
"Oh yeah. I don't think he'd go in there and play 70 plays right now. To be quite frank – I said this to the coaches – I thought he practiced well this week. It's kind of like when an O-lineman doesn't catch your eye, it's fine, but he did catch my eye doing some good things. He's going to be able to play for sure, yeah."
(On if he reflects on how much has happened this season)
"It's not really what I do. I kind of just deal with it as it comes and stare it right in the face. As a leader, you're in charge of leading your guys. There'll be time to do that. You look back at some parts of your life and say, 'Wow,' but while you're in it's not the time. Now's not the time to reflect, now's the time to lead and handle each issue as it comes up. As I said, out of anything, good can come. This team's coming together. We're going to stick behind our guys that are sick and stick together for each other. This is a good group of people. They say the old thing, 'Adversity reveals character.' I think some good character's coming out of all this. It's showing."
(On if cornerback Rashaan Melvin is ready to play)
"Rashaan is ready, he practiced all week, so that was good. Our training staff made a decision in the bye week, because it was just a nagging hamstring, so I think they, without a doubt, did the right thing. He seems fine. You're always holding your breath with those hamstrings, but he practiced hard all week, so he'll be in the mix if we need him to be, [cornerback Deveron] Carr [as well] – all the guys that are on the 53 [-man roster]. Mike Adams probably won't make it, probably. I wouldn't totally rule him out but probably not."
(On cornerback Danny Gorrer)
"Danny's actually doing pretty well, but, by rule, he can't start practicing until next Wednesday, and then I think it's two weeks after that before he can play. He's actually doing well in his rehab and he's been in every meeting. Danny's excited about getting back. When we did it, we said, 'Mid-season, it'll be nice to get a fresh guy popping in here,' and a guy that we think has promise. Yeah, he'll be okay."
(On the level of concern from players regarding MRSA)
"I think player, coach, anyone is concerned. Again, I can tell you personally – and I probably know a lot more than most because of what's happened since training camp – but I learned a heck of a lot more today, in an hour, than I did on my own. It's really dangerous, all of us amateur doctors via the internet. There's a lot of information out there. To listen to an expert really address each question, I thought Doctor [Anderson] was excellent – just dead-on with each question. I think coming out of that meeting – you do not stick your head in the sand, you know it's a serious issue – but I think the guys, I know I do, I feel much more equipped to move forward. And that was the whole purpose: to help these guys to be equipped to handle it and move forward and go win a football game, and that's the plan."
S Dashon Goldson
(On if the team is scared or concerned about the MRSA case)
"Nobody's really nervous or scared about the MRSA, we're pretty much educated on that and we're good. We're focused on this team that's coming in and playing this football game this weekend."
(On if the adversity the team has faced has brought them closer)
"Definitely, we've faced a lot of stuff these last couple of weeks. Right now, we're just trying to get back on the right page and definitely try to get this 'W'. There's nothing more important than playing football around here. That's what we're all here to do. We're excited about the challenge coming up this weekend and we're looking forward to it."
(On how the team prepares for both Philadelphia quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles)
"We're definitely prepared for both, but we understand those guys are dealing with injuries just like other teams and we can't look past that. I understand [Vick] has a hamstring [injury]. I think whoever we play, they do a good job for their football team and we've just got to stop them."
(On stopping Philadelphia's big play potential)
"That's definitely on our board; I'm not overlooking the running force they have with Shady [running back LeSean McCoy]. We've got our work cut out definitely this week, on all phases of the field, and definitely [against] the run and pass. We've got to go up and stop the run and definitely challenge the pass every time."
WR Vincent Jackson
(On if the MRSA situation is a distraction for this week's game)
"Not at all I think you address it, you put it out there, you talk about it, you inform players make them feel comfortable, educate them about it and they've done the best job they've could have done. I think everybody's ready to go."
(On if this is one of the scariest situations he's seen in a locker room)
"It's really not. That's one thing that we learned today, talking with one of the best specialists in this country, how common it actually is. It's like a germ, like anything else, it's around in any environment, so the fact that we've had some cases here, it can be cured, they can obviously be fixed, there's medicine to address it and we're using the best people at our disposal. The guys are confident that if anything comes up, we're going to address it. I don't think it's a scare at all."
(On if the added practice time with quarterback Mike Glennon has helped)
"It's always going to help us to get more reps together. Mike's done a great job, he's spent extra time doing a lot of film, we've done some routes after practice, using the jog-through periods and everything like that just to make sure, mentally, we're on the same page, seeing the defense the same way. He's up to speed, I don't really have any questions about him. When he's back there in that pocket, he knows exactly where he needs to go with the ball and he's going to make great decisions."
(On the offense has the capability to be explosive)
"I think it's there. We just haven't been able to get to those opportunities in the games thus far, but there's a lot of football left and I think that we will."
General Manager Mark Dominik and Dr. Deverick J. Anderson
Mark Dominik: "Good afternoon, we're here today to obviously report that we did have a third case of MRSA within this organization. To my right is Dr. Anderson, a well renowned infectious disease specialist, and he is here as a member of DICON [Duke Infection Control Outreach Network]. We had him come in last night – we've actually been working with their organization [previously]. We've been in constant contact with the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] [and] the National Football League in regards to what's going on, and obviously with DICON. Their expertise in this, as well as their practices, have been something that's been very important to us as well, as we continue to move forward. I will tell you that one of the main emphases that we did do last night – we had Dr. Anderson fly in and this morning spent over an hour just with a Q&A with our players, to be able to answer questions about MRSA and anything they felt that they needed to do from a safety standpoint and just an intelligence standpoint. Then we followed that up and actually had him meet with our football staff and had another one where they actually talked to all of our members of our organization, [and] once again, for Dr. Anderson to be able to field any questions. We also felt that today would be a good opportunity for you as well to ask questions, we will fill you in as much we can from a medical standpoint, football related and/or medically related. With that I will open it up to questions."
(On the identity of the third player with MRSA)
Dominik: "I will tell you this, I have spoken to the player, I've spoken to his agent and we are not at liberty to confirm or deny any player right now."
(On if the MRSA outbreak is under control)
Dominik: "I will briefly touch on that and then Dr. Anderson I will certainly let you chime in. It's been something that is obviously very important to us, the player health and safety of our players is again of the upmost importance to us and it's been something we've worked very strenuously with our training staff, our equipment staff, a lot of policies and procedures that we've put in place, going back all the way to before August and certainly post-August, when we had the first two cases. We continue to follow those policies and procedures and we're going to continue to find new policies that we're talking about even now, to even further strengthen our situation."
Dr. Andeson: "I think there are a couple of things to add to that. First of all, the idea of is this a single type of MRSA that is occurring in these players? We don't know about the third one yet, we still need additional information about the specific MRSA that we are dealing with, but we actually, definitively say that the first two cases were really not related to each other. That being said, there have been quite a few changes that based on our recommendations that facility has put into place and actually, additional recommendations that the facility will be using moving forward."
(On if One Buc Place is a safe enviroment)
Dr. Anderson: "I can say that I believe that it is a safe environment for players and staff, and I think there are a few reasons why that's the case. I got to come and review the facilities about a month ago and got to see how practice was performed. I think, based on my observations, I didn't think there was anything very high risk, I think football in-and-of itself was a known risk factor for MRSA and MRSA infection in general. So, that the fact that a case, or even two, and now three cases occurred does not necessarily in-and-of itself mean that this is any higher risk than any other football location in the country."
(On how there are multiple places in Tampa and not anywhere else)
Dr. Anderson: "I think that's a great question and I don't think we know the answer to that question, to be perfectly honest. I think MRSA is very common and there are several practices that occur that make you more likely to identify it. If you cultured every skin infection that happened, then you would find MRSA and so I think that, to some extent, it is related to culturing practices, which, from a clinical perspective, is a good thing. You want to know what it is you are dealing with. Other than that specific thought, I don't know exactly why we've got three cases in this location and not in others."
(On if the facility needs another cleansing process)
Dr. Anderson: "Not specifically for the facility. We do have a strategy that we're going to put in place, starting either later this evening or tomorrow, where we have some specific what we call source control that we perform on the players themselves using a disinfectant for the skin. But no I don't think another treatment of the facility so to speak is required."
(On if they have cultured every player)
Dominik: "No, I think through education, as Dr. Anderson just spoke about. We've really talked to our players about coming to our trainers and doctors if with anything they feel is a concern. We had a player actually come to our doctors and had a concern and quite frankly, it's very smart by them. We appreciated it, we pointed that out. Early detection is by far the most preventive ways to limit the control of the situation. This player did a good job of alerting us. It was early and we actually did a culture like Dr. Anderson says, we're culturing everything in our organization right now, because it's that sensitive to us as well. We want to make sure that we're doing everything with the best practice and policy we can do and that result actually came back – partial result came back last night, late last night."
(On culturing every player)
Dominik: "No, I'm not going to get too deep into that because, again, that's probably a medical question. What I would say is that you don't culture every player and – without saying too much and doctor I should probably turn that over to you –generally cultures are on open wounds and open sores."
Dr. Anderson: "That's right and we would not recommend [it]. Certainly that thought comes up from time-to-time in this situation, but no that's not a recommendation that we have at this time, to specifically go and culture. The issue is, what do you do with that information? We actually have limited options as far what you can do to kind of eliminate MRSA if you just happen to find it. Instead, we would really focus on those that have clinical signs and symptoms that are consistent with infection.
(On how they are able to determine different strands of MRSA)
Dr. Anderson: "Yes, it certainly is a reasonable question. The answer is, when we look specifically at the germs, we know that it's an MRSA, but they come in different flavors. One of the ways we can tell which flavor it is is to essentially look at what antibiotics work against it. We can essentially compare culture from one player versus culture from another. If there are significant differences between what antibiotics [work] – this is something we call susceptibilities of the organism – then we would not believe that those are related to one another."
(On if they can prove that the two strands of MRSA did not originate at One Buc)
Dr. Anderson: "Well you can't really prove a negative I guess. So I can't say with a 100 percent certainty that is actually the truth. I think what you can speak to are the probabilities really. The probabilities are, because these are different organisms, you would not think that there is a single source, what we call a source point outbreak necessarily. These are more than, as a result, related to just essentially in some ways day-to-day activities that all of us do – skin-to-skin contact and things like that. We know that football players are at higher risk because not only do they not only have a great deal of skin-to-skin contact, just because their occupation, but they also have a lot of skin breakdown. The reality is all of us get exposed to MRSA pretty regularly but because we have intact skin, we don't run into any problems with it. When you combine MRSA exposure and then subsequent issues with skin or perhaps in one the cases a surgical procedure, then that's where you can get into some trouble."
(On the two previous strands being different)
Dr. Anderson: "That is a definitive. I think that you can definitively say they did not get it from one another, because of the differences that we see on that organism."
(On if the new case is related to a previous case)
Dr. Anderson: "It's possible, we just don't know enough information at this point. We know that it is a staph, we know that it is an MRSA, but we haven't seen that susceptibility report to be able to say 'What's the likelihood?' Now, actually, one of the things that we are doing moving forward in particular since this week we have two cases that are again close together in time and proximity, is to do more in-depth testing of those two germs. We're planning on getting them and really running some molecular testing to determine if they are or are not the same bug."
(On when did the third player come forward)
Dominik: "It was Wednesday, and that was the day that he did. The reality is we got a partial – I don't want to say incorrectly – we got confirmation, somewhat, of the MRSA, enough of one where we actually contacted the league office, we contacted the NFLPA last night. We also contacted the player to alert him and to let him know what are findings are. We're trying to stay in front of this and inform everybody as soon as we have information. That's our goal here, because I think that helps in the outcome."
(On if said player will be out for an extended period of time)
Dominik: "That's a good question, right now it's under discussion, and we are in contact with, obviously, DICON as a neutral party [and] certainly talking with the NFLPA and the NFL. Number one, the player has to feel like he can play. Then, number two is, is there any public risk in that capacity in terms of where is he at in his situation? That's not going to be decided our organization, that's going to be left up to the hands of the discussion panels that we've been a part of."
(On if Dr. Anderson reviewed guard Carl Nicks' case and does he think Nicks played too soon)
Dr. Anderson: "I did get to review some of his records and see, in particular, which antibiotic he received and the duration of the antibiotic therapy he did receive and, honestly, it seemed very reasonable. These were very high-powered antibiotics that he received for a very long period of time. We typically do not do major follow-up testing – that is to say, you don't have to demonstrate that you've got MRSA eliminated from the skin. Instead you're looking for how do his signs and symptoms improve? It's my understanding from talking to the physician that was caring for him was that his foot tremendously improved and essentially that's the kind of criteria we would typically use to say 'okay, can someone return to work?' Not just NFL necessarily but just work in general. There are specific policies, say in a hospital setting, that we would use to dictate when a person can come back to work after they have had an MRSA infection. He would have met those criteria.
(On how common it is for MRSA to recur)
Dr. Anderson: "It's a good question and, honestly, when it comes that type of infection – that is to say an MRSA infection in the bone it is not uncommon at all to occur. The reality is that often times when MRSA gets into the bone – antibiotic therapy alone is not enough to actually cure it. Typically, in that scenario, that is where you try antibiotic therapy and if it continues to recur, that indicates that you may require a surgical procedure to definitively remove that infection. Obviously, in my field this something I see pretty often. That's often the time when we get called in to see these types of patients, but in general, it certainly does happen."
(On if guard Carl Nicks needs surgery)
Dr. Anderson: "Since I'm not specifically involved in his care, I don't know the answer to that, but speaking in generalities about this type of infection, it certainly is true that surgery is required sometimes."
(On if the infection is still in Nicks' bone)
Dr. Anderson: "It certainly was, I don't know if it is at this point. I have not specifically looked at his records as of Wednesday."
(On if anybody in the organization outside of the players has had MRSA)
Dominik: "I am not aware of anybody in this building that would be related to what's going with the MRSA cases that we have, no."
(On if a staph infection can mutate into MRSA)
Dr. Anderson: "That's not typically how MRSA emerges. So typically we tend to think of them as being very distinctive from one another, it's either MRSA or it's not. We don't typically believe that if you have – say for example staph and MSSA on your skin – that if you receive antibiotics that it would mutate into MRSA. Instead, the usual scenario is you have both on your skin, you treat the MSSA and the MRSA is all that's left. We don't really think of them mutating from one to the other."