Why The Bucs Didn’t Sign Dan PersaMay 29th, 2012
Regular readers of Joe know that news came from Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa, via his Twitter feed, that he was going to work out for the Bucs just prior to the Bucs rookie mini-camp, and Joe was geeked by the news.
Persa was perhaps one of the most underrated quarterbacks in college football. His junior year he lit up opposing defenses (except for Penn State) with thrilling, come-from-behind victories, as he did in the snow at Evanston against an Adrian Clayborn-led Iowa Hawkeyes.
But it was on his game-winning touchdown throw that day that Persa blew an Achilles tendon as he jumped for joy running off the field in celebration.
Last season, as a senior, Persa was not his normal self, still hobbled with his Achilles. So when Persa worked out for the Bucs, Joe was certain that over a year after his initial injury, Persa would be just fine.
When Joe — and the rest of the pen and mic club — got to watch just a portion of one rookie mini-camp practice, Persa was nowhere to be found, even though Joe had it confirmed with Bucs officials Persa was at One Buc Palace prior to the open practice.
Then, the Bucs signed LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Joe was floored: How could the Bucs not sign a dynamic quarterback like Persa and sign Jefferson, who did little to nothing with LSU? Bucs officials claimed they signed Jefferson because of his upside, which lasted a grand total of three days before Jefferson was released.
Joe could only guess Persa didn’t pass his physical, but Joe could never get that confirmed. Now Joe knows what happened, and one could say Persa didn’t pass his physical.
When Persa worked out for the Bucs, per Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, Persa blew out his same Achilles.
During a tryout with the Buccaneers in early May, Persa tweaked the same area. His Chicago-based agent, Mike McCartney, sent him to see David Porter, a foot and ankle specialist and an orthopedic consultant to the Colts.
“He said my foot was at 65 percent,” Persa said, “and during the season, it was probably at 50 percent. He said: ‘If you ever want it to be semi-normal again, you have to have another surgery.’”
Joe feels badly for Persa, who likely has taken his last snap of his football career. The guy was fun to watch and simply a clutch quarterback.
Maybe this is just a figment of Joe’s imagination, but Joe cannot recall in years past so many players in football suffering Achilles injuries. It almost seems commonplace now.