“The COVID Really Got Him Pretty Good”

January 11th, 2022

Rookie receiver/returner Jaelon Darden

Rookie receiver/returner Jaelon Darden was back on the active roster Sunday and the Bucs gave him the ball.

No hesitation.

Joe would have hesitated since Kenjon Barner had stepped in for Darden and looked sharper on returns.

But Darden is beloved at One Buc Palace and Bucco Bruce Arians talked about him on his team-sponsored radio show this evening. Darden missed games due to The Sickness and the head coach revealed that he didn’t have a smooth ride.

 “He looks like himself. You know, the COVID really got him pretty good. Two weeks of that and he’s bounced back,” Arians said. “We’ve got to get him involved in the offense somehow.”

Arians liked how Darden set up and produced on a 34-yard kickoff return Sunday. He also praised his lone punt return, a four-yarder, one where Arians said he was “real close” to breaking a big one.

Joe got the shivers when Arians mentioned Darden getting involved in the offense. Joe would feel much more comfortable with that happening next August. Besides, Joe believes Scotty Miller can do everything Darden can, and more.

52 Responses to ““The COVID Really Got Him Pretty Good””

  1. SB~LV Says:

    Break out !

  2. Pewter Power Says:

    A playoff atmosphere will test him for sure. Hopefully he rises up to the challenge desperately want this team to show they don’t need AB since people forget the dude didn’t play in all our playoff games

  3. unbelievable Says:

    He did have the once nice return, you could finally see his speed.

    But the rest of his sampling size has been downright underwhelming…

  4. Smashsquatch Says:

    He looked decisive and confident Sunday. Maybe the switch has flipped for him.

  5. PassingThru Says:

    Stop tripping over ants.

  6. Joshua porter Says:

    Hey Joe do u know if two eagles Homer’s are calling the game on Sunday?? Jaws and some bald dude sry don’t know the name thanks

  7. Jmarkbuc Says:

    “Stumbles” Darden

  8. Cobraboy Says:

    @Passing Thru: maybe he’s been studying Michael Pittman game tapes…

  9. Swampbuc Says:

    Darden is so reminiscent of Dexter Jackson the Horrible. Obviously must be way more likeable to his teammates.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Well, so much for COVID only affecting old people. Good thing he was vaccinated I guess. He was vaccinated, wasn’t he Joe?

  11. godlovesbucs Says:

    I saw the game live, he was so close to a huge return.

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Bruce is right. Darden looked good on the 4 yarder. Youd like to see him break that tackle but it really looked like things started to click vor Darden. You cant really complain after he busted that kickoff.

    That was a close game at the time too. Big play.

  13. Steven007 Says:

    It was the most decisive I’ve seen him since he’s been returning kicks for us. Hopefully a sign of things to come.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    All hands on deck. Prepare to repel Eagles.

  15. Lesko_Brandon Says:

    I hope Darden gets a breakout game next week and so all the other bucs players. Beat the crap out of the eaglets ! GO BUCS !!!

  16. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Any word on cyril grayson yet?

  17. David Says:


    Don’t be ignorant dude. The CDC has the data out there –
    almost 93% of ALL Covid deaths are people 60 and over.
    Almost 75% of all deaths are people with other underlying conditions, usually multiple conditions.
    If you add in obese and/or elderly it’s more than 98% of ALL the deaths.

    Get used to it because they’re finally starting to admit it. There is no endgame here, it’s not going away.
    Are you Old, diabetic, or autoimmune issues – protect yourself
    Everyone else – Live life like normal.

  18. Joe Says:

    Hey Joe do u know if two eagles Homer’s are calling the game on Sunday?? Jaws and some bald dude sry don’t know the name thanks

    Joe can’t remember the last time Jaws called a game for a network. 2011 maybe? “Bald dude” doesn’t help Joe out. Many network broadcasters have little hair.

  19. David Says:

    I would love to see them target him a couple times during the game. Hit him on WR screen weaving through traffic like they do with Godwin. Darden is quick and elusive and has great hands.

    Just PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIS FARLEY! Make sure he’s wearing the correct cleats!

  20. Crickett Baker Says:

    I’m (and everyone else should be) glad I’m not a football coach. I don’t see much skill at all in Darden returning kicks. He looked less scared this time. That’s all the good I saw.

  21. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    The Omicron variant can still make vaccinated people sick, old or young. The difference is that the odds are extremely long that you will die from it if well vaccinated (3 jabs for the old).

  22. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    I have no love for Philly. I do like and respect Jaws.

    Go Bucs!

  23. adam from ny Says:

    i wish he would settle in at the returner position already…

    he has the skills and he is no longer a rookie…

    it’s time for him to get some juke & jive in his game and wiggle while he werks!


  24. JimmyJack Says:

    Pretty sure Aikman wears a piece. But cant be the mystery bald dude. He cant stand the Eagles.

  25. sasquatch Says:

    But, but, but… according to some commenters out here, Covid can’t make young healthy people sick and there’s no reason to get a vaccine!?!?! What gives? I can’t believe anyone here would be talking out of their a55 like that!

  26. Jeffbuc Says:

    Sasquatch calm down it the flu that is transmitted easier. I have had it twice now. First time was pretty vaccine second time was with vaccine had no symptoms just tested positive. I work at a skilled nursing facility and we have 80’plus years old getting it. And they don’t even know they have it. And they are there to get bet better from some other condition that requires them to get rehab for 2-3 weeks. When I first got it I was sick but just like I had a flu on day of 4 of Quarantine I was going crazy wasn’t sick but still had to sit in a back bedroom because some elected official said so. By the way this scary deadly virus did not attack my wife my 4 year old son or his friend and his mom. I went scalloping the day I was symptomatic and not one person got it from. Oh the horror of this deadly highly contagious Flu/cold

  27. Colin in Canada Says:

    Probably have Darden catch a few bubble screens and thats about it.

  28. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    “Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday said two doses of the company’s vaccine may not provide strong protection against infection from the Covid omicron variant, and the original shots have also lost some of their efficacy at preventing hospitalization”
    you can’t fix stupid, they still believe current shots (called “vaccine”)are the answer; even when the seller(pfizer) is saying”does NOT protect from infection”.
    Darden fully vaxxed = “The COVID Really Got Him Pretty Good”

  29. Architek Says:

    Every time he touches the ball it’s a turnover or bobble.

  30. Swampbuc Says:

    Darden just sucks. Had sucked. Has sucked. Will suck. Will have sucked.

  31. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    “Darden just sucks. Had sucked. Has sucked. Will suck. Will have sucked.”
    nothing more to add…

  32. sasquatch Says:


    It’s still true that the vast majority of people going into the hospital and dying are unvaccinated. So there’s that. Nevermind facts though, when you have distractions and distortions.

    The fact that efficacy of vaccines fades over time is not surprising. They never promised 100% protection or permanent protection. That’s why we have boosters, which was also not surprising or unusual. We were also warned that variants could come along that would escape the vaccines. That is still not a valid knock on the vaccines. They’ve done what they could based on the genetics of the original strain. Did you expect magic?

    Fact is one is still far more likely to fare better against the virus when vaccinated. Sorry, that’s just a fact.

    Pfizer has already stated they are developing a new version of the vaccine based on the omicron strain.

  33. sasquatch Says:


    You can downplay it, and I’m happy to hear you’ve done okay having gotten Covid twice… but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t wreaked havoc across the country and the world. This has never been just the flu even if your personal experience felt like it.

  34. alaskabuc Says:

    I hope I live to eat my words, but I have seen nothing from him that thinks he could possibly be our best option this post season at either return position, and right now I see him as a roster cut by the end of next summer. Give Barner the return duties and find anyone that can run without tripping to fill his bottom rung WR spot.

  35. #1bucsfan Says:

    He must be watching Pittman tape was hilarious. He does kinda just fall down like Pittman lol

  36. Bucsfanman Says:

    Well, for all the “armchair doctoring’, at least we’re admitting that it’s no longer a “hoax”!

    I want this kid to succeed so badly. I just haven’t seen it yet. I’m crossing my fingers for some break-out performances in this playoff game.

  37. Dking Says:

    Imagine how much better he’d be if he were getting thrown to by America’s crab leg stealing, pro bowl alternate, expletives yelling, Mr 30-30, pick 6 in a season record holder, eater of more L’s than W’s, non playoff QB, Jameis Winston

  38. SB~LV Says:

    Get a grip !
    Kick and punt return is not what it was just a few years ago. Rarely are there notable returns league wide each weekend!

  39. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Big game for a rookie return guy, BA rolling the dice. The ball is going to be wet. Unfortunately Bucs fans a wet field favors a running team, I see another nail biter. This one is on the D, they need to step up. 30 points is going to be a stretch.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    crazyBucs_CL Says:
    January 12th, 2022 at 12:03 am
    “Darden just sucks. Had sucked. Has sucked. Will suck. Will have sucked.”
    ….and yet on his suckiest day he is getting Paid as an NFL player, doesn’t know you exist and you are not getting paid and he is occupying relevance in your life.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Big game for a rookie return guy, BA rolling the dice. The ball is going to be wet. Unfortunately Bucs fans a wet field favors a running team, I see another nail biter. This one is on the D, they need to step up. 30 points is going to be a stretch.
    Whatever this expert predicts, I’d bet the opposite. He has literally never been right

  42. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    It was one the best 4 yard punt returns, I’ve ever seen.

  43. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Analymous, go ahead and make that bet, you’re playing with house money your 4th stimulus check should be arriving soon, that is unless it gets lost in the mail and turns up at the local prison mixed with the images payouts. Freaking loser leach.

  44. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Inmates, damn autofill.

  45. Cobraboy Says:

    When blocking on kicks below the waist and no double-team blocks on ST’s became a rule, the return game died.

    It has less to do with Darden than the rules.

    Yeah, some guys are exceptions, but generally, every team’s return game sucks as badly as the Bucs.

    Now I just want the return guy to catch the ball. Any +yards is a big plus.

  46. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    @”Anonymous Says:
    crazyBucs_CL Says:
    January 12th, 2022 at 12:03 am
    “Darden just sucks. Had sucked. Has sucked. Will suck. Will have sucked.”
    I can’t take credit for that statement, some other member stated it ; I just agreed with it.
    I know , I know, you don’t care for Darden, you mad that he got Covid, and some of us are mentioning that he was fully vaxx. That hurts you part$ narrative.
    NOT sorry.

  47. geno711 Says:

    @crazyBucs_CL Says

    The more things change:
    Covid 19
    Covid 19 variation Delta
    Covid 19 variation Omicorn

    The Moron Stays the same with his lies:

    Covid is an election Hoax
    Chlorine and Red Lights work against this virus
    The government is falsely counting other deaths as Covid related
    Vaccines = microchips
    Breakthrough infections mean that vaccines do not work
    Monoclonal therapies are more effective than vaccines
    People like Vincent Jackson are committing suicides because of Covid Fauci getting paid by big pharma
    Breakthrough infections mean that vaccines do not work again

  48. rrsrq Says:

    The Bucs have so many secret weapons for the playoffs, Darden, OJ, Scotty, J-Wat, Perriman, Bell, Gio, Fells – the other teams won’t know what hit them

  49. SlyPirate Says:

    Wow! A billion comments on a Darden article. Who would have guessed?

  50. mark2001 Says:

    Frankly, I’ll trust in Arians analysis of Dardens skill level and potential, instead of we armchair coaches that see him once every so often.

    And everyone reacts to Covid differently. Again, Arians said he was hit pretty hard with it. I’ll take his word for it.

    And Jeff…you are PO’ed because they quarantined you for a few days when you had Covid. And seems you are saying you would have gone to work, had you not been required to say home. Hope that isn’t the case.

  51. mark2001 Says:

    When I think about we fans analysis of players, I have to think of Donovan Smith. And some bad games of dropping the ball by Godwin. To worry about either of their abilities now seems pretty silly. But we now have great coaches. That know how to see raw talent in the rough, and develop players.

  52. Listnfrmafar Says:

    mark, are you talking about Brady & Sherman?