Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin out for season with torn ACL

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Godwin suffered a torn ACL during Sunday night's 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints and will miss the remainder of the season, coach Bruce Arians announced Monday.

Godwin suffered the knee injury in the second quarter while falling awkwardly after a collision with New Orleans safety P.J. Williams.

"You feel bad for him because he was having such a great year, and the type of hit it was -- totally legal but I think that's one of the things we have to look into in the offseason," Arians said.

"We're so concerned about hitting people in the head, that we're getting a lot of knee injuries now because of that type of tackle. But it is legal and wasn't a bad play at all. But yeah, I just feel bad for Chris."

Early indications were that it was an MCL injury, and the team was hopeful Godwin might return for the playoffs. But further testing revealed a torn ACL.

Godwin finishes the season with 98 receptions for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns, passing teammate Mike Evans (96) for the second-most receptions in franchise history.

Quarterback Tom Brady expressed frustration over Godwin taking a hit to the knees, calling it a "play I think they ought to take out of the game of football."

Brady said he intends to speak to the NFL Competition Committee this offseason, believing wide receivers need to be afforded the same protection as other players.

"You can't hit anyone in the knees anymore except for receivers, because you can still hit them in the knees, which doesn't make any sense to me," Brady said on his SiriusXM "Let's Go!" podcast Monday. "You can't hit a defensive lineman in the knees You can't hit a punter in the knees. You can't hit the quarterback in the knees. You can't hit a DB in the knees. Except we're somehow allowing hits on defenseless receivers in the knees.

"So it needs to be addressed and it needs to be really thought out. It really impacts guys' careers."

On a night they were looking to clinch their first NFC South title since 2007, the Buccaneers also lost defensive lineman Patrick O'Connor, a core player on special teams, to a season-ending knee injury, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Doctors believe O'Connor tore his posterior cruciate ligament and had a partial tear of his MCL, but he is getting more medical opinions, the source said.

Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans (hamstring), running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and inside linebacker Lavonte David (foot) also suffered injuries in Sunday night's game.

Evans, who is second in the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions, was injured after a leaping third-down catch over the middle working against cornerback Marshon Lattimore. He is week-to-week with a strained hamstring and has a chance to play Sunday, a source told Schefter.

Arians didn't have a timetable on Fournette but stated that it's a role reversal from last year, when Ronald Jones -- then the starter -- suffered a broken finger that required surgery, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and suffered a quad injury at the start of the playoffs.

"It's his time now to do what happened for Leonard last year when he got hurt," Arians said. "I've got all the confidence in the world. He ran great, caught the ball good, and I think going forward, it's his job right now."

Arians didn't have updates on all players, as some have had to wait until Tuesday to undergo MRIs due to swelling.

At receiver, the Bucs were already without receiver Breshad Perriman, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, and Antonio Brown, who was serving a three-game suspension but will rejoin the team on Monday, general manager Jason Licht announced before kickoff.

"We'll wait and see. I think BP should have a chance to get back," Arians said. "Don't know when. And then we'll start looking at all the pieces and put the game plan together."

When asked if he'd go outside the organization in search of possible help at receiver, Arians said, "I'm OK with what we have now."

As far as Brown, the team will evaluate him in practice this week to determine what his workload might look like.