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Bucs’ Gage, Jets Cornerbacks Coach Oden Carted Off Field After Separate Injuries At Joint Practice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage and New York Jets cornerbacks coach Tony Oden were both carted off the field after separate injuries during the teams’ joint practice Wednesday.

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Bucs’ Gage, Jets cornerbacks coach Oden carted off field after separate injuries at joint practice

Tampa bay head coach Todd Bowles (Image: AP)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage and New York Jets cornerbacks coach Tony Oden were both carted off the field after separate injuries during the teams’ joint practice Wednesday.

Gage suffered a non-contact right knee injury during the session and Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said it appears “pretty serious.”

Gage, who had 51 catches for 426 yards and a career-high five touchdowns last season in his first year with Tampa Bay, went down during early 7-on-7 drills and appeared to be in tears as he was carted off. Several of his teammates gathered around Gage while he was being looked at on the field.

“I can tell by the way that he was sitting on the truck that it was probably something that happened pretty bad,” Bowles said. “Our hearts go out to him and we’ll see how it goes.”

Meanwhile, Oden was injured when he took what Jets coach Robert Saleh called “some friendly fire” during one of the half-dozen or so skirmishes during the practice.

After players were separated, Oden was down on the grass and trainers and medical personnel attended to him. The 50-year-old assistant coach appeared to not move for a few moments, but was able to get up under his own power and sat up on the cart as he was taken inside the facility before heading to the hospital for further evaluation.

“We took him for precaution,” Saleh said. “He’s doing fine. He’s awake, he’s doing fine, he’s stable. So, everything’s fine.”

The Jets and Buccaneers were originally scheduled to hold two joint practices leading up to their preseason game Saturday night, but the teams agreed earlier this week to instead do just one. Saleh said Tuesday the decision was made in large part with player safety in mind since the second day of joint practices typically lead to more fights and injuries.

That change in schedule didn’t prevent the squads from squaring off several times after plays during team drills. Jets cornerback Brandin Echols was involved in some of the pushing and shoving that resulted in injuring Oden, who’s also New York’s senior defensive assistant.

“I didn’t see what happened because that was around the same time I got into my scuffles,” Echols said. “But T.O. has a big place in my heart, so I’m thinking about him right now.”

The Buccaneers’ thoughts were with Gage, who missed most of the team’s first week of camp with a hamstring injury. He was expected to be Tampa Bay’s No. 3 wide receiver behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

“My heart goes out to Russ,” Godwin told reporters. “That’s my dog. He’s been battling some things since he’s been here, so to see him go down again is very, very tough.”

The 27-year-old Gage spent his first four NFL seasons with Atlanta after being a sixth-round draft pick out of LSU. He missed only four games during his time with the Falcons before signing a three-year, $30 million deal with the Buccaneers in March 2022.

Gage missed four games last season while dealing with hamstring issues, and then was carted from the field after suffering a concussion during Tampa Bay’s wild-card round loss to Dallas in the playoffs. He then restructured his contract during the offseason to remain with the Buccaneers this year.

“I’ll wait to hear the final results, but he’s been battling back for the last, obviously since he’s been here, it seems like,” Bowles said. “We wish him the best.”

NOTES: Jets G Laken Tomlinson sat out practice with what Saleh said was an injured leg. He’s day to day. ... Jets DE Carl Lawson remains sidelined with a back issue, but Saleh said he could return next week. ... Jets WR Corey Davis was excused for personal reasons.

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