Tampa Bay Buccaneers

J.R. Sweezy Cleared to Return

After missing the entire 2016 season, guard J.R. Sweezy has been cleared to return to the field.

On Wednesday, Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter and General Manager Jason Licht met with members of the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis as 330 of the country's top draft prospects prepared to begin workouts. Both answered a handful of questions about players they'd like to add to their roster for the upcoming season, but a significant amount of time was also spent discussing players on the team's current roster.

Of those players discussed, guard J.R. Sweezy was one who drew a particular amount of interest. Sweezy, who was signed by the Bucs as a free agent last spring, missed the entire 2016 season recovering from surgery. But he should be ready to go when offseason workouts begin, according to Koetter and Licht.

"When we signed J.R. Sweezy we were extremely confident and were very excited about J.R. joining our team and making us a better football team," Koetter said. "Unfortunately J.R. had surgery in the offseason and the recovery was longer than anyone expected. No one wants to be back out there helping the team more than J.R. He has been cleared. He wasn't cleared until after our final game. He's back training again and now we're ready to take it to the next step.

"Besides having surgery, nothing's changed from J.R. the player who played so well for the Seahawks before we signed him."

When Sweezy was signed, he appeared to be the heir apparent to Logan Mankins' position at left guard after Mankins announced his retirement. With Sweezy out, Kevin Pamphile stepped in and started 14 games.

Heading into training camp last year, the position appeared to be Sweezy's to lose, with Pamphile competing for the job. But after Pamphile's strong performance in 2016, coupled with the fact that Sweezy had been sidelined for an entire season, the competition could be much closer as this offseason pushes on.

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