Inside The Ryan Jensen Journey

February 3rd, 2023

Man, one hell of a feature was penned by national NFL writer Dan Pompei on nearly everything you might have wanted to know about Ryan Jensen’s return to the field last month after a horrific knee injury in late July.

Great (and long) stuff by Pompei at

Joe finds it very cool how the Bucs weren’t counting on Jensen playing in January and how him being activated to practice three weeks prior to the game might have been more about team morale than a guy getting closer to the field.

Among other things in the feature, Jensen painted a picture of Tom Brady and Brady’s training guru Alex Guerrero pressing him to play against Dallas, and of Guerrero convincing him his hurdles were mental rather than physical.

Jensen’s long road to return started after several recommendations for surgery were overruled by a retired surgeon who believed Jensen’s knee was so messed up that surgery would have been counterproductive.

He referred McCartney and Jensen to Don Shelbourne, an Indianapolis orthopedic doctor who pioneered the non-operative approach that Prodromos thought would work for Jensen.

Shelbourne concurred with Prodromos that surgery might not be necessary; his research has shown tears of the MCL and PCL can heal with immobilization and therapy, and the ACL needs repair only if completely torn. Whether Jensen’s ACL was completely torn wouldn’t be known for two months while the swelling subsided.

Prodromos also believed stem cell infusion could strengthen Jensen’s ligaments and accelerate healing.

If everything goes well, Prodromos and Shelbourne told him, Jensen should be able to resume his career in September of 2023. Both doctors strongly advised him to forget about the 2022 season.

Shelbourne put Jensen in a cast from his ankle to upper thigh with his knee bent at a 23-degree angle. He was told to remain relatively inactive for nine days, so he stayed at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis. His wife, Stephanie, returned to their children, Wyatt and Eliza, in Florida, which left Jensen with a lot of time to think, probably too much. What he pondered mostly was the possibility of retiring.

He had incentive to quit. Before the 2021 season, he took out an insurance policy that covered him for a career-ending injury. By retiring while injured, he could collect a $5 million payout. What’s more, $23 million of his contract was guaranteed whether he played or not.

Amazing stuff from Jensen, who miraculously played every snap in that Dallas game.

Joe can’t wait to see what Jensen delivers next season, assuming the Bucs bring him back and pass on tanking for a high draft pick. Jensen is not the kind of guy who deserves to be stuck on a team not trying to win.

46 Responses to “Inside The Ryan Jensen Journey”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    How much draft capital is Jensen worth?

  2. YucsBall Says:

    Love Jensen, he is a true tone setter on the Oline. That being said, if he still wanted to stay in tampa then so be it. But if he wants to be traded then see what we can get form Denver for him since he’s from colorado.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    No player deserves to be on a team not trying to win……and no fan either…..

    Jensen, since he turned down guaranteed money & $5mil is obviously not playing for money…..he’s playing for the opportunity to center for Trask….

    I’m happy his cast was set at a 23 degree angle……not 22 or 24…..I’m quite sure that was the key to success.

  4. HC Grover Says:

    Trade him and all our other old players all of them. Time to start over. Even if we win zero games this year…this year is a lost cause led by a loser. The Great Reset ….It would be more fun to watch the rebuild than a flailing wailing joke led by Bozo the Coach.

  5. D-Rok Says:

    Now, SEE? Was it so hard to provide a diagnosis months ago? I knew they had to know what the diagnosis was, but because the injury happened in camp, they didn’t have to reveal it. The Bucs could have done better for their fans.

    OK rant over, but Nancy Drew is pissed she didn’t get to solve The Case of the Missing Diagnosis.

    Man, Jensen is one tough cookie!!!

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    And thanks to the Toad That Blowes, Jensen’s heroics were wasted.

    Thanks, Toad.

  7. Your Mom Says:

    Joe didn’t you write in another article that Jensen has the option to opt out if wants to, presumably his out if Brady retired?

    Would he?

  8. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Cobra

    “How much draft capital is Jensen worth?”

    I’m going to guess maybe a 4th round pick. Mainly due to his age and injury last season…

    I would be pleasantly surprised if we could fetch more than that.

  9. SB~LV Says:

    Yawn.. he came back so he could say he was Brady’s center for his last game, “I snapped Tom Brady’s last football “

  10. SB~LV Says:

    Trade him for a 3rd this year or a 2nd next

  11. RumDude Says:

    It was a helluva read, and I can now understand the lack of news on his injury this season because they just didn’t know. Definitely uncharted territory, but his successful rehab with this new process will help many in the future.

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    I believe Payton Manning used this same type of treatment (stem cells) on his neck injury almost a decade ago or so.

  13. Beej Says:

    He’s 32, but centers can be effective for as long as QB’s

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Beej

    Jason Kelce is currently the oldest starting Center in the NFL at 35.

    Jenson is turning 33. It’s not so much his age but the injury I would be more concerned with…

  15. SKBucsFan Says:

    He will likely have some draft capital. But is a 4th rounder worth the leadership we could lose? I assume he isn’t quiet in the dressing room.

  16. sasquatch Says:

    I wonder if J03 is going to mention taking in every article the entire off-season. Is he just trolling people who don’t believe in loser tactics?

  17. sasquatch Says:


  18. sasquatch Says:

    There are some untouchables on this team, from my point of view: Evans, Godwin, Jensen, Wirfs. And I don’t think Lavonte should be allowed to get away in free agency. Every other player is available for the right price.

  19. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Trade him for draft pick, could even get a high 3rd round pick for him.

  20. Steven007 Says:

    Yes Sasquatch, unfortunately Joe will mention tanking as much as he wants to which seems to be 80% of the articles. Apparently one of the Joe’s definitely leans towards the strategy. Apparently he doesn’t even want to consider a Seattle-like competitive team that was unheralded and unexpected. Approximately 0 pundits thought the Seahawks would do anything this year. Most of those same pundits thought the broncos were destined for the postseason. As with every NFL year, there are surprises we never saw coming. Does it look like we’ll be less than competitive next year regardless of anything we do? Yes, at this point in time. But no team will cop to tanking even if the bloviators state it is so. Certainly the Panthers were primed for tanking this year too. Didn’t work out so well for them either. At least in terms of getting a very high draft pick.

  21. Bucanero Says:

    I don’t understand fans who suffer the armchair general manager syndrome. Who gets excited about getting draft capital? I guess so many decades of losing culture will do that to some weak minds. I want my team to compete.

  22. matthew veal Says:

    We forget what the players do to perform

    This guy is among the best of us.

    Much respect and many thanks

  23. mark2001 Says:

    Steven. Seattle has a fine HC. He helps to make up for a number of shortcomings. We don’t, it seems. Keeping Bowles makes me think we might be taking the rebuild strategy.

  24. sasquatch Says:

    Bucanero Says:
    February 3rd, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    I don’t understand fans who suffer the armchair general manager syndrome. Who gets excited about getting draft capital?

    When your roster is getting old and slow and your cap situation is totally ph0ecked, you have to pivot, unload salaries, and get younger. Getting more draft capital is a strategy to get back to competitiveness more quickly, instead of continuing to attempt getting blood from stones. What’s the alternative? Keep rolling with one-year contract band-aid players hoping they defy the odds of age and injury? How’d that work out this year?

    This team’s championship window is closed. We need a youth and speed infusion. This should be obvious to anyone following the team. Get more draft picks!

  25. fred Says:

    LoL We should ask Jenson who he wants at QB We really missed him last season we missed the dog that he has in him we didn’t have any dogs last yr with JPP and Suh leaving Ryan was only one left our season was doomed when he went down just my take on it we need him back if we plan on being a tough hardnosed football team Cut Donovan Smith move Wirfs to left side and draft a rt tackle

  26. BucsfanFred Says:

    We could probably get a 4th for Jenson or a third for the 2024 draft, especially for a team desperate for a center.

  27. Crickett Baker Says:

    I’m kind of with Bucanero. Drafting is a crap shoot especially (not me) since people have little faith in Licht and the HC to make good picks. Not only that, but most of them don’t do much during their first 2 years. Not only that, but we already have a bunch of young players on the team and practice squad. To help with the cap we need to go with Gabbert and Trask which I am willing to put up with for the first part of the season. Hopefully, Tom will put off filing retirement papers until the summer. Hopefully, we will get a new HC halfway through the season. So far we do not seem to have many people who can coach up players just coming out of college.

  28. Redeemer Says:

    Marine, yep Manning did the same thing and loads of HGH delivered to his wife. If I were Jensen, I wouldn’t have played. They were never beating Dallas. It was the fan in all of us that clouded our judgment, most of us anyway. Sasquatch I’m with you. The more picks, the better chance of hitting. It’s an inexact science, but it’s the only way to build for the future. Go look at the history of teams that spend a pile on outside free agents. IMO, unless they find some gem at QB, it’s 2025-27 before this outfit is ready to win a playoff game. I don’t care about making the tournament. As we saw this year, fools gold.

  29. Walter Says:

    Fire Keith Armstrong pls

  30. Bucanero Says:

    Sasquatch, you have a problem with this year? Tell me how many division banners are pending from the lost decade? Yeah I thought so. You go into re-building phase and there’s no telling when you go out of it. You say “Getting more draft capital is a strategy to get back to competitiveness more quickly”. I say “Yeah, one would wish that”. As a fan I don’t want it. I’m pretty sure players don’t want that either. But if Bucs were going down that long and winding road. First thing would be to get a coach you can build with. Is it Bowles? I believe he is more on the re-load wagon. Clean house means out goes Bowles and probably Licht too. Hey maybe ownership from what I read in some comments. Not there yet. But whatever, Go Bucs!

  31. sasquatch Says:

    If you think they’re going to be able to put together a winning team of veterans when they’re 50 million dollars into cap hell this year, you’re 100% delusional. The only way to dig themselves out of this is to get younger, faster, and cheaper ASAFP. You do it right, and you may be able to keep the bleeding to 1 year. Keep trying to play cap games with overpriced underperforming injured veterans, you can count on losing for the next 5 years. Build it back by getting younger fast. Use your friggin’ brain dude. Nothing you’re saying makes any sense. And I’m not giving up on winning games in 2023, I’m just positive that there aren’t any miracles that will get us close to a Superbowl this year, so let’s stop pretending and get on with restocking the shelves.

  32. mark2001 Says:

    Sasquatch. Agree pretty much. I would like to find a franchise QB, and rebuild an O line that can last a decade. But other than that, I’m open to changes. Standing pat will only lead to mediocrity.

  33. sasquatch Says:

    mark2001 Says:
    February 3rd, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    Sasquatch. Agree pretty much. I would like to find a franchise QB, and rebuild an O line that can last a decade.

    I honestly think every other position on the team is in worse shape than the O-line. On the OL, we have Wirfs, Mason, Jensen, and a whole bunch of young talent that gained valuable experience this year. They will be better this year. The only position I’m concerned about is LT due to Donovan’s down year and large contract. I think they have a lot to work with, and perhaps Wirfs could move to LT, Goedeke to RT, and let Leverett and Hainsey battle it out for RG. Maybe you could add another body, perhaps even another high pick. If so, the O-line is ready to grow together and get better. I’m not down on Goedeke because he struggled as a rookie.

    Literally every other position on the team needs reworking, except maybe TE. Perhaps they could go with Otton and Kieft, or find another big body smash mouth guy to run 2 TE sets with. I would not be opposed to adding a big athletic TE high in the draft.

    Both RB and WR need an infusion of speed. Maybe draft, maybe free agency, but they have to get some speed there. Fournette needs to go.

    The defense is in shambles if you look at all the free agents. We only have 2 DL under contract — Vea and Hall. None of our free agents warrant spending significant money on bringing back, but Nacho and O’Connor could be back because they’re cheap, but they’re backups.

    OLB. Tryon has yet to live up to expectations. I still have hope for him, but we haven’t seen enough production from him to be comfortable. Shaq Barrett is probably toast after an Achilles injury, and his contract is unloadable at 23 million cap hit with no savings if he’s cut. That situation is an anvil for our ’23 season. Nelson is a free agent who I think they need to get back.

    ILB. Trade Devin White please. Save 11 million dollars and get a draft pick. Lavonte is a free agent and we need him back. Only sh!tty organizations let franchise icons go while they’re still playing well. We’re gonna have draft ILB as well to groom or even start this year.

    CB. Basically we have Carlton Davis and Zyon who will hopefully develop in year 2. Then it’s a bunch of free agents, and we can’t afford to pay Dean. Probably need to sign SMB who is cheaper and can still play when healthy. And probably need to draft another.

    S. Might be the most ph0uecked position on the team. Winfield is in the last year of his contract, and he’s one concussion away from considering retirement. Edwards is a free agent and may not be worth re-signing unless it’s cheap. Behind them, Logan Ryan, free agent who is a smart guy and might be worth bring back cheap. Neal is not much anymore. Nolan Turner may become a decent backup safety, as he did contribute a little as a UDFA. Basically, the safety position is ALL question marks.

    Is there any question that EVERY position on our defense is in worse shape than the OL?

    Punter – Camarda is already one of the best. The only position on the team we don’t need to worry about heading into 2023.

    Kicker – Succop and his contract need to go. 3.5 million saved by releasing him.

    I haven’t mentioned QB.

  34. sasquatch Says:

    ^^ In light of all these roster issues, is there really any question they have to load up in the draft? They can’t possibly fill all those holes with free agents when they’re 50 million in the hole. It’s just not possible.

  35. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Reedemer. It’s amazing how the golden boy Manning escaped unscathed with that HGH shipment, and yet people want to bring up that fake Deflate scandal with Brady. It’s been disproven many times.

  36. mark2001 Says:

    sasquatch. I’m saying if we can find a franchise QB, you can build the rest around him…if he is young. And you need a solid O line to protect him. And be able to block and create good running lanes. And they can play for a decade, unless concussions drive them out of the game. Time to build around them on the Offensive side.

  37. mark2001 Says:

    And S…you don’t have those things, you don’t have a chance to have an offense.

  38. sasquatch Says:

    Yeah, we have to get the QB. I don’t know what that looks like this year, but none of what’s available is the long term answer. Perhaps there will be someone in the draft.

    I’m reasonable comfortable with the talent on the roster to develop into a good O-line going forward. It doesn’t need a total overhaul.

  39. Buddha Says:

    Mostly an absurd conversation. No team with 5 or 6 pro bowl players is going to tank. Let’s wait and see who the QB and OC will be. Seems like m as my of you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. How quickly you forget that without Bowles and Light we don’t win a Super Bowl. Bowles won more games his first year as coach than Arians And that with crippled offensive line.

  40. Ed Says:

    Amazing story of toughness, but one has to wonder if he will be able to use that knee in 20 or 30 years

  41. FortMyersDave Says:

    Jensen is tough, Bucs should not trade him if all they will get is a mid round pick, that is idiotic! You keep your pro bowl caliber players unless you get an unbelievable trade offer. Make space on the cap elsewhere, start with Launching D. Smith, the weak link in the OL! FYI, Logan Hall was the nimrod who blew up Jensen’s knee in training camp so besides being what appears to be a wasted 2nd round pick like Trask, he also helped destroy the Bucs OL last season. Thanx Logan!

  42. Bucanero Says:

    @Sasquatch, I agree with you on the O-line that’s why I think we can still win with a mobile QB. That’s all. Whatever Glazer’s boot can afford. I’m not excited for tanking, I don’t want to see franchise players in other jerseys. I understand but will not root for that. I’m a Bucs fan and hate losing on Sundays.

  43. steele Says:

    Jensen is a warrior.

    Man, Logan Hall sure did a number on him. Hall’s sole instant impact play of the season.

    Jensen is one of the few foundationals on the roster. However, if it’s time to blow this team up, everyone should be considered. Let Jensen go some place where he will win. OneBuc loves Bob Hainsey so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bowles Inc. tosses the best talent in the house.

  44. adam from ny Says:

    eehhh…jensen might want to move on now that tom’s not here…tom kinda brought him back in the fold while he was out shopping his options…

    and now tom is gone, and big red has 2 years dangling on his deal (i think)…

    let him go if he wants to move on…and it’s a salary dump…

    hope he stays tho…

    he’s def the nasty dude on the line…and if glass eating goedeke ever gets up to speed, and they play side by side, that could make a nasty combo with wirf bookending one side

  45. Bucs Guy Says:

    Good analysis Sasquatch, but we need a TE who can catch. Otton is not your #1 TE – especially for a young QB.

    Absolutely trade Devon White and draft an ILB. Need to find another DT. Vea is the only one long term DT we’ve had since Sapp. Sorry McCoy. Suh was a rental.

    CB situation scares me a little, but we’ll see what happens in FA. This year is when Licht and his staff will really have to earn their salaries.

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bucs Guy Says
    “Good analysis Sasquatch, but we need a TE who can catch. Otton is not your #1 TE – especially for a young QB.”

    Remember, Otton was a rookie acclimating to the NFL. He improved as his first season went on.

    That’s the important thing. He’s been putting in the work to get better.

    I have a feeling Jason Licht FINALLY drafted a future stud TE.