Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage left practice on Wednesday after suffering a non-contact knee injury. Gage must still undergo exams, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the early indications are not favorable for the former Atlanta Falcons wideout.
UPDATE: 1:30 PM – Gage will miss the 2023 season.
“#Bucs WR Russell Gage suffered a non-contact knee injury during today’s joint practice with the #Jets and the belief heading into exams is that the severe injury will end his season,” wrote Rapoport.
The other early reports from journalists at Buccaneers practice on August 16 were in unison with Rapoport’s tweet. Pewter Report reported that Gage needed a cart to leave the practice field. Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith reported that Gage was “in obvious duress” when he suffered the injury.
Gage signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Buccaneers last offseason. He posted 51 receptions for 426 yards and a career-high 5 touchdowns for Tampa Bay last season.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are still Tampa Bay’s top receivers, but Gage was expected to play a significant role this season with the Buccaneers offense moving into its first fall without quarterback Tom Brady. After his injury, though, Tampa Bay will be fortunate if Gage plays at all in 2023.
If Gage is indeed sidelined for a significant period of time, the Buccaneers will be counting on unknown receivers to replace him. The other wideouts on Tampa Bay’s roster are David Moore, Deven Thompkins, Kaylon Geiger, Trey Palmer, Rakim Jarrett, Ryan Miller, Taye Barber, Cephus Johnson and Kade Warner.
With the Falcons, Gage never scored 5 touchdowns in a season, but he had three 425-receiving yard campaigns. He set career bests with 72 receptions and 786 receiving yards during 2020. In 2021, he averaged a career-high 11.7 yards per reception.
Gage began his career with the Falcons as a sixth-round pick during the 2018 NFL draft. He posted 193 catches, 2,065 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns in 61 games for Atlanta.