The good news the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were hoping for on Monday didn't materialize, and as a result the roster move they feared was necessary on Sunday had to be made.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers placed starting free safety Cody Grimm on injured reserve as a result of ligament damage in his right knee, suffered while making a tackle on Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won the game, 16-13.
The move opened a spot on Tampa Bay's 53-man roster, which the team filled by promoting tight end from the practice squad.
Grimm's injury occurred midway through the third quarter on Sunday and he had to be taken off the field by cart. By Monday morning, the Buccaneers were sure that he had suffered damage to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) but were holding out hope that there was no further damage to the knee, particularly to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). However, an MRI on Monday brought bad news and Grimm will now set his sights on 2012.
The son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Russ Grimm, Cody was his usual stoic self after the game on Sunday despite being on crutches. Still, the injury is an unfortunate bit of luck for the former Virginia Tech star, as he has now landed on the I.R. list in each of his two pro campaigns. In 2010 he missed the last five games after suffering a broken left leg in a Week 12 game at Baltimore.
Prior to that injury, Grimm had emerged as one of the team's most pleasant surprises. Despite coming in as a seventh-round draft pick, he was in the starting lineup at free safety by the third game of the year. He handled the job well and drew praise for his tough style of play and sure tackling. In 11 games and nine starts he contributed 61 tackles, two interceptions, two passes defensed and one touchdown. In just his second career start he helped propel the Bucs to a 24-21 comeback win at Cincinnati with an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Grimm was playing one of his best games on Sunday against Atlanta before the injury. Head Coach Raheem Morris put the young safety near the line of scrimmage for much of the day to slow down running back Michael Turner, and the approach completely stymied Atlanta's rushing attack. The Falcons ran for just 30 yards on the day, including 20 on 11 carries by Turner. On the play that ended Grimm's season, he caught Turner from behind to limit that carry to just one yard.
Knowing on Monday that Grimm would at least miss some portion of the season, Morris said that Corey Lynch and Larry Asante would compete in practice this week to see who would step into the starting lineup at free safety.
Grimm becomes the third player to land on injured reserve for the Buccaneers this season, but the first since the regular season began. Rookie wide receiver Raymond Webber and second-year defensive tackle E.J. Wilson were placed on that list during the preseason.