Payton, Lake hurt on sidelines
Sunday's matchup between division rivals was so physical, even the sidelines offered no sanctuary at Raymond James Stadium. Saints head coach Sean Payton and Bucs assistant Jimmy Lake each suffered major leg injuries in Tampa Bay's 26-20 victory, which also saw Bucs center Jeff Faine leave the game with a right biceps injury.
New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham rolled over Payton's left knee while going out of bounds following a completion four minutes into the game. After a lengthy delay, Payton watched most of the first half from the bench, with his left leg elevated, before heading upstairs to the coach's box with a fractured tibia and an MCL tear.
Lake, who coaches Tampa Bay's defensive backs, was walking around the locker room on crutches after tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee while celebrating Tanard Jackson's second-quarter interception.
"Sean Payton didn't come back — I came back," Lake said with a smile. "I would think that injury (Payton) affected the Saints a little bit because Sean calls their plays."
After the game, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris walked down to the New Orleans locker room to check on Payton's status. "Sean's been a guy that's been very helpful in my young coaching career," Morris said. "I know we're arch-rivals, but Sean's one of those guys I consider a mentor. I admire and respect his style. He's in good spirits. Sean's a tough guy. He'll bounce back and find a way to get it done."
When Faine was sidelined, the Bucs switched Jeremy Zuttah from guard to center and inserted Ted Larsen at left guard the rest of the way. Faine said he left the game as a precaution and didn't think his injury was serious. He said he would board Tampa Bay's flight to London today with the intention of playing against the Bears at Wembley Stadium.
|About the writer|
Ira Kaufman has long been both a great writer for The Tampa Tribune and friend to the Bucs UK and BUCPOWER.COM. He writes on all sports for the paper but during the NFL season offers his stories on not just the Buccaneers, but also the NFL in general.