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Bucs bring infectious disease specialist to meet with players


Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria. SEM X40,000

Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited

Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano has said, “The easiest way to be defeated is to be distracted.”

The Buccaneers now have a huge distraction, two days before a game against the Eagles.

In a press conference conducted earlier this afternoon at the team’s facility, G.M. Mark Dominik and Dr. Deverick Anderson of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network confirmed that a third player has MRSA. The player alerted the team to the potential problem on Wednesday.

While Dominik declined to name the player, the available evidence points directly to cornerback Johnthan Banks.

Dominik explained that Dr. Anderson arrived at the facility this morning and met with every player regarding the situation. Dr. Anderson also met with the entire football staff, and all members of the organization.

That’s a pretty big distraction.

Dr. Anderson said that the first two cases are not related. For the third case, it’s too early to know whether it’s connected to any of the other two.

“I can say that I believe it is a safe environment for players and staff,” Dr. Anderson said. “Football is a known risk factor for MRSA,” Anderson added, explaining that, in his view, the Bucs having three cases “doesn’t mean it’s a higher risk than any other football locations in the country.”

He can say that, but it doesn’t mean anyone will believe it. Apart from the concerns players and staff will have over the balance of the year, it will now become harder (and in turn more expensive) to lure free agents to Tampa.