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O.J. Howard Exits with Ankle Injury vs. Giants

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 09:  O.J. Howard #80 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 9, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants, the team announced Sunday. It noted he was doubtful to return. 

Howard had a solid rookie season in 2017, catching 26 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns—the last number highlighted his potential as a red-zone target. 

He was on his way to an even better sophomore campaign in 2018. Through his first three games, he had 11 receptions for 222 yards and a touchdown.

In Tampa Bay's 48-10 defeat to the Chicago Bears in Week 4, Howard suffered a sprained MCL, adding further misery to the Buccaneers season following a result that led head coach Dirk Koetter to tell reporters the team should "fire everybody."

Should Howard's ankle injury force him out of action again, the Bucs still have Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson to anchor the passing game. But Howard's replacement, Cameron Brate, won't pose the same kind of aerial threat from the tight end position.

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