Bucs play NFC wild-card game Saturday night, without Devin White
The Bucs will be without linebacker Devin White for the NFC wild-card game. Tampa Bay will play NFC East champion Washington Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. on NBC. White tested positive Thursday and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. Current NFL protocol mandates a player must quarantine at least 10 days after a positive test for the virus, meaning White wouldn't be available for the first round of the playoffs.

An NFL spokesman said Sunday the 10-day quarantine period is non-negotiable. Since White's test was Thursday, he would not be eligible to return until Sunday, Jan. 10 provided he was asymptomatic and gets medical clearance.

Linebacker Shaquil Barrett and defensive tackle Steve McLendon also were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday for close contact and must sit out at least five days unless they develop symptoms.

White leads the Bucs with 140 tackles, including 15 for loss. His nine sacks rank second on the team. He also has 16 quarterback hits, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. More than his production, White is the emotional leader of the defense. Starting in place of White, veteran linebacker Kevin Minter led the Bucs with nine tackles in Sunday's 44-27 win over the Falcons.

"This is kind of what we do, right?'' Minter said. "Coach always talks about next man up and that's something we live by in this locker room. Regardless of who's down, there's no excuses. We're all Bucs and we've all got goals in mind. We're trying to get that championship. So regardless of whose playing, you need to strap the helmet on and go. And I'll be damned if I'm the one that let my team down.''

Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times, published 4 January 2021