New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins has faced Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady three times in his career with the New Orleans Saints. Now, he will get a chance to have a fourth meeting with Brady when they take on the Buccaneers on Sunday. As a player who has had a chance to play Brady three times, Rankins said he has witnessed some young teammates get starstruck by the veteran quarterback’s presence. Rankins said some players who witnessed Brady’s greatness while growing up have a tendency to be astounded when playing against the quarterback.

“As you’re growing up, him win no matter the circumstance or situation and then to line up across from him, that’s something a lot of people dream about,” said Rankinst. Rankins said getting starstruck by Brady will happen to somebody, but when the whistle sounds, he insisted that it should be time to win a football game.

Rankins said he and fellow veteran C.J. Mosley must make sure that their younger teammates don’t get starstruck when they face Brady. “At the end of the day, football is football,” added Rankins, who first met Brady when he was a rookie in 2016 during the Saints’ joint practices with the New England Patriots. After he intercepted Brady’s pass, he saw the quarterback trying to chase him as he raced towards the end zone.

Rankins said he was amazed by Brady’s competitive nature, even in practice. “Hats off, he is, you can’t argue with it, the greatest to ever do it,” he added. The Buccaneers have already clinched the NFC South and a win over the Jets could improve their NFC seeding heading into the playoffs.

Bucs place Evans on COVID-19 list

Ahead of their clash with the Jets, the Buccaneers have placed wide receiver Mike Evans on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

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Evans did not play in their 32-6 win over the Carolina Panthers after he suffered a hamstring injury in their loss to the Saints. However, the Buccaneers did not place him on injured reserve hoping that he could play in one of their two remaining games. But the latest development could prevent him from playing, unless he can generate two negative COVID tests 24 hours apart.

The Buccaneers recently activated wide receiver Breshad Perriman from the COVID-19 list after nine days. Perriman was placed on the list one day after he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in their victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Jaguars want to interview Bucs’ DC, OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars have requested the Buccaneers to allow them to interview offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The Jaguars are looking for a new head coach after they fired Urban Meyer following a series of controversies. Leftwich had a connection with the Jaguars as he was their quarterback for four seasons after he was taken by the franchise as its seventh overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Bowles, for his part, had a head coaching experience with the Jets.