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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Todd Bowles Confirms WR Russell Gage Will Miss 2023 Season

The knee injury that Russell Gage suffered in Wednesday's joint practice with the Jets will end the receiver's second season in Tampa and cause the Bucs to dig into their depth at the position


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers feared the worst when wide receiver Russell Gage went down with an apparently significant knee injury during a joint practice at the New York Jets' facility on Wednesday morning. On Thursday came the expected but unwelcome confirmation: Gage will not be back in action in 2023.

After a practice at the New York Giants' facility, Bowles confirmed that Gage has a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and that the injury would cause him to miss the entire season. The sixth-year pass-catcher will likely be placed on injured reserve in the coming days, making him ineligible to return before season's end.

The Bucs had anticipated Gage filling the third receiver role behind starters Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and Gage had indeed been getting the first-team snaps in three-receiver sets in practice in recent weeks. His absence could accelerate the timetable for the development of some of the younger receivers on the 90-man preseason roster.

Among the candidates to absorb the snaps meant for Gage are second-year wideout Deven Thompkins, sixth-round draft pick Trey Palmer, veteran addition David Moore and undrafted rookies Rakim Jarrett, Kade Warner and Ryan Miller.

"I think someone has to step up fairly earlier than probably normal, but we still have our top two guys, and we have Thompkins who's played a lot," said Bowles. "Obviously Palmer made some plays, and Rakim [Jarrett] has got to get healthy, and David Moore has made some plays and we've still got a bunch of guys fighting for spots. We'd like to see somebody emerge pretty soon."

The Buccaneers signed Gage as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2022 after he had spent his first four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Though he rarely missed time due to injury in his stint with the Falcons, he has dealt with unfortunate luck in that regard since coming to Tampa. His current injury will result in his first trip to injured reserve since he entered the NFL, but he was slowed early last season by a leg injury, suffered a concussion in the Bucs' playoff loss to Dallas and missed this year's offseason work with another leg ailment.

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