“I Wasn’t Really Cuttin’ Like I Thought I Was Cuttin'”

March 27th, 2022

Former Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

Players’ injury realities are rarely revealed. Sometimes it takes them landing with a new team to get the truth.

Former Bucs tight end O.J. Howard has a fresh contract with the beastly Buffalo Bills. and Howard met the media there and had plenty to say about his five seasons in pewter and red.

As for recovering from his Achilles tear in October 2020, and the subsequent surgery, Howard explained that he thought he was fine to kick off the 2021 season, but his film review showed otherwise. He felt great last summer and was doing everything, Howard said, but when he studied film of himself in midseason versus weeks prior, he realized how much the healing Achilles was holding him back.

“Wow. I wasn’t really cuttin’ like I thought I was cutting’,” Howard said.

About Week 7, Howard said, is when he started getting back to full strength. And he added that ankle issues in 2018 and 2019, followed by the 2020 Achilles (ankle-related) got him to re-examine mobility in his ankle joint. Howard made training changes, he said, and he is so proud of finishing the 2021 season available for every game.

In short, Howard says he’s 100 percent now at 27 years old and is fired up for his opportunity in Buffalo. Interestingly, he claims he’s much better player after a full season of practicing.

The Bucs won a Super Bowl without Howard and he was targeted just eight times over Tampa Bay’s final 11 games last season. His blocking was never great, so Joe can’t imagine how Howard will be missed.

It will be interesting to see what he can pull off in Buffalo — from Alabama to Tampa to the miserable Buffalo weather. It would be wild if Howard becomes a cold-weather star.

63 Responses to ““I Wasn’t Really Cuttin’ Like I Thought I Was Cuttin'””

  1. Biff Barker Says:

    Nothing to see or hear from OJ anymore. His contract ran out long after our patience did.
    Good luck OJ. Now please go pick up a TE in the draft.

  2. RustyRhinos Says:

    I wonder how well the ankle will be up for cutting in 40deg or less weather for many games and practice and training.It could be a good thing if it is numb.

  3. NCBucfan Says:

    This is why Godwin should start the season on the PUP list. No need putting him out there if he’s not fully effective!

  4. Itzok Says:

    The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.

  5. WalkdaPlank Says:

    1st round bust. Was drafted the season after Brate led the league in TD’s for tight ends. Best career catch came in foul territory at a Rays game rather than on the field at a Bucs game.

  6. SB~LV Says:

    Okay There was a reason Saban didn’t feature him as a offensive weapon…
    If he could he would have

  7. SB~LV Says:

    and Oh yeah
    Draft Isaiah Likely somehow some way some where

  8. adam from ny Says:

    his career in tampa was kinda just weird af

  9. NCBucfan Says:

    OJ was like Josh Freeman, the word potential was used way too much with them. They just never lived up to it.

  10. Mike Johnson Says:

    Just like civilian jobs and life, A change of environment does quite a few people good. OJ may still yet become a very good player. Best of luck to him.

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    This dude sucked out loud and will prolly continue to do so.

  12. Ed Kerber Says:

    He’ll have a few Gm’s show him
    how good they are at Cuttin’

  13. gotbbucs Says:

    As it turns out, using 1st round picks on TE’s is almost more pointless than using a 1st on a RB.

  14. NCBucfan Says:

    But as bad a pick as OJ was, Hargraves def takes the cake as Lichts worst 1st rd pick!

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    Don’t waste a good pick on a tight end there are still a couple of descent FA tighr ends. You need three you basically have one. Sign one now and when Gronk done playing around sign him

  16. Pewter Power Says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he turns into a very good player, I’m sure he won’t be asked to block much.

  17. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    OJ was like some old Chevy Chase movies.
    They started off slowly with the occasional chuckle here and there. Then you keep waiting for the funny part that never comes.
    Finally it ends with a yawn.
    Wake me when he retires.

  18. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    I’m not sure if Gronk comes back.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘His blocking was never great, so Joe can’t imagine how Howard will be missed.’

    Way back in 2014 when OJ was a sophomore, Bama’s HC Nick Saban described him as ‘a great pass-receiver’ but who needed more work on his blocking. Well, watching all the Bama games since then, Saban gave OJ plenty of blocking practice in games. In his senior year (2016), OJ had 45 receptions in 15 games, but was on the field for most plays … blocking on most of them.

    And yet, when OJ came out of Bama back in 2017, this was the typical assessment of him … ‘ In a tight end class filled with athletic playmakers, it is Howard’s blocking that separates him from the pack’.

    The Bucs own description on their website said … ‘The Buccaneers thought Howard would most likely be gone before their pick because he belongs to an increasingly rare breed of tight end who have the size and skills to be an in-line blocker but the speed and agility to work the seams downfield. Why did the Bucs consider Howard a pipe dream on Thursday night. Because he’s a true ‘Y.’ That’s the designation given to a three-down tight end.’

    Injuries derailed that obviously. BUT … OJ was, and MAYBE still is, a very talented TE. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares up in Buffalo.

  20. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Looks like Tarzan plays like Jane. Simple as that.

  21. Biff Barker Says:

    gotbbucs Says:

    As it turns out, using 1st round picks on TE’s is almost more pointless than using a 1st on a RB

    The Atlanta Falcons disagree.

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow, 2 comments in a row that just vanished. Guess it doesn’t pay to poke the bear.

  23. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    BA said that OJ and Gronk on the same side represents TWO POWERFUL blockers. Joe himself has said that OJ is a better blocker than Cam Brate. So is he the second coming of Gronk when it comes to blocking? No , but who is?

  24. RandsABucFan Says:

    He never really did seem interested in the Bucs after he was drafted. Even when he was selected he didn’t show much enthusiasm. Maybe Siberia, I mean Buffalo will change him.

  25. Elita Vita Says:

    Should we perhaps question his love of the game?

  26. Elita Vita Says:

    I got the same feeling as well RandsABucs fan. Never seemed interested being a Buccaneer.

  27. Big Red Says:

    OJ Howard – if healthy – will be great with Buffalo. He was under-utilized here because of Gronk. Him and Brady were hot before the achilles injury.

  28. Ron Says:

    Koetter knew how to scheme OJ and drew upon his past knowledge working with Tony Gonzalez to do so. OJ had some big plays with crossing routes and misdirection and screens. When healthy, OJ is a matchup problem against LBs and safeties with his speed and size. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury and lack of a more accommodating scheme hurt OJ here

  29. james west Says:

    good riddance

  30. SC. Bucs Fan Says:

    He didn’t do much when healthy

  31. SC. Bucs Fan Says:

    I wonder if I will ever get out of moderation

  32. Bucs Guy Says:

    Bust as a 1st rd pick. Pick a TE on day 2 (3rd rd).

  33. Tampabaybucfsn Says:

    He was only cutting’ the cheese wit the Bucs

  34. dmatt Says:

    Com on man, OJ wasn’t blocking, catching, or giving his all way before the injury. That’s an example of not cutting it.

  35. SPARKY Says:

    I hope Gronk gave Jason some kind of promise that he would be back before we let OJ go. O.J. and Brate are better than Brate and nobody.

  36. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Ron with the smartest comment of the day about OJ and Ed Kerber with funniest. Arians is the reason because prior to Brady demanding Gronk and using him in the passing game coach Arrogance had no prior use for tight ends other than blocking and he has said it just like running backs. With Koetter Brate had some very good seasons and OJ did decent as well. When a coach refuses to use certain weapons in his offense it tells you a lot about him. If it wasn’t for Brady no one would have force him to change his offensive philosophy and we wouldn’t have even made the playoffs the last two years. Away from Arians OJ will do much better

  37. Marine Buc Says:


    I didn’t like this pick from day one.

    For 4 seasons all we heard was OJ had great “potential”. Then he snapped his AT…

    Good luck OJ.

  38. PassingThru Says:

    OJ was right, he wasn’t cutting it.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    Solid post DR and Ron.

    He’s most definitely a matchup nightmare in the passing game when healthy. It always surprises me Koetter didn’t use him more, but we also know he was hesitant to let any rookie or even 2nd year guys get much action…

    Arians / Leftwich simply didn’t use their tight ends much (tho obviously that changed when Brady got here). It looked like OJ was finally becoming what we wanted but then the Achilles happened and he clearly hasn’t been the same since.

    It will be interesting to see if he ever gets back to full health / ability.

  40. Lesko_Brandon Says:


  41. Elita Vita Says:

    Good News: I witnessed a fantastic reception by OJ Howard.
    Disappointing News: it was October 2019 at a Rays Baseball Game!

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Hope he does well but I kinda doubt it.

  43. Elita Vita Says:

    (Remember the foul ball he caught)?

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Lesson…USE first few rounds on BEEF in the trenches.

  45. Dman Says:

    All hat, no cattle.

  46. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Maybe he was cuttin’ farts?

  47. StAugBuc Says:

    Ugh, slow news day

  48. Natron Says:

    But what a specimen…..LOL!

  49. Defense Rules Says:

    Allbuccedup … ‘Don’t waste a good pick on a tight end there are still a couple of descent FA tight ends. You need three you basically have one. Sign one now and when Gronk done playing around sign him’.

    Given how BA used TEs not named Gronk, future Bucs’ TEs better know how to block, and block well. I’m not even convinced that he would’ve kept Brate this year if we’d had more TEs under contract. As a blocking TE primarily, I still like Antony Auclair. He knows our system, is a FA, and can probably be had for relatively few $$$. I doubt that Bucs will spend a Rnd 1-4 pick on a TE, and late Rnd picks probably wouldn’t see much field time this year. Auclair might.

  50. Defense Rules Says:

    Forgot to add that while at the NFL Scouting Combine in February 2020, Arians referred to Auclair as ‘one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL’. Was getting quite a few snaps with us in 2020 until his turf toe injury sidelined him. Bucs didn’t re-sign him after that, he went to Houston, and they used him quite a bit it looks like (16 games with 13 starts, 316 offensive snaps … 32%).

  51. Bucnjim Says:

    Oj Howard is your typical Al Davis Raiders draft pick. Size, speed and strength do not equal great football players! A great player who absolutely loves the game of football even more than the money is by far your best bet. Even then its a crap shoot.

  52. TDTB2022 Says:

    Taking over the Ice Cream Truck doomed him!
    We should retire his jersey.

  53. don g Says:

    I tried I waited and waited for OJ to perform Never happened I mean I think he a had good game once What a horrible draft pick We could have picked TJ Watt

  54. dmatt Says:

    don g,
    You’re right on point.

    2017- He’s a future pro bowl
    2018- He has potential.
    2019- Maybe next year.
    2020- If weren’t for his injury
    1st quarter of season,he’s recovering from injury
    2nd quarter of season,he’s recovering from injury
    3rd quarter of season,he’s recovering from injury
    4th quarter of season,he’s recovering from injury
    Meanwhile, Gronk, MEvans, Fournette,AB, all recovered from injuries n resumed to stepping up. I rest my case

  55. NDoGS burner Account Says:

    Yeah but did Brady get traded to Miami yet?

  56. Bigz Says:

    Not much for him to do there because Dawson Knox is the man.

  57. Goatfarmer Says:

    Damn that achillees injury. I agree with Red, he was turning it on and having his best game against the Chargers right before the injury.

    I understand reinvesting the cap$ elsewhere but do believe he will have success. Maybe not Gronk / Gonzalez success but at lease decent production .

  58. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Austin-Seferian Jenkins clone.

    I hope Arians can draft better tightends than Licht.

  59. Jonny Says:

    I think he will turn out to be a very good player for the bills.

  60. Bucco2 Says:

    We passed on Dalvin Cook for this guy…

  61. Bucsfanman Says:

    Ironically, in reviewing his tape, nobody could tell the difference when he was and wasn’t healthy because HE NEVER PRODUCED!!!

    Sorry but, lets call it it straight. It was a HUGE wasted pick on a position we didn’t need at the time and on a team that needed so much more. That’s the truth!

  62. CrackerBall Says:

    Is it politically incorrect to say that OJ Howard looked like Tarzan – but played like Jane?

  63. SlyPirate Says:

    OJ has the most articles written per catch of any Buc in history.