Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians says A.Q. Shipley advised to end career

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Friday that backup center A.Q. Shipley, who started the past two games, is done for the year and has been advised not to continue playing football. Shipley, 34, suffered a neck injury late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams Monday night.

Arians had said he feared Shipley’s career was over earlier this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio, but confirmed the news Friday.

“He had had what we thought was a stinger. He had had this injury back in 2013 I believe,” Arians said. “Once we did the MRI and X-rays, it was determined that he really shouldn’t play anymore.”

The Bucs had brought Shipley in because of his leadership and because they wanted as much experience as possible along their offensive line should an injury happen to starting center Ryan Jensen or one of their interior offensive lineman. That’s what brought Shipley into action these past two weeks, after left guard Ali Marpet suffered a concussion and Joe Haeg struggled as his replacement.

Shipley finishes his career with 110 games played and 72 starts.

“He’ll be going on IR and starting his coaching career,” said Arians, who plans to give him his first opportunity. “He aspires to be a coach, and I think he’s gonna be a great one, so we’ll get him started to make sure he likes this life.”

The conversation wasn’t easy. Arians was the offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers when they selected Shipley, a team captain at Penn State, in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. He played with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 when Arians served as the interim head coach for a cancer-stricken Chuck Pagano. And he played for Arians for three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Shipley’s career also brought him to stints with the Philadelphia Eagles (2010-2011), a stint with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 and a second stint with the Colts in 2014.

“It’s really hard. It’s harder than releasing somebody or cutting somebody that’s a veteran that has finally hit the wall and doesn’t really know how to admit it. But to have an injury stop it so suddenly, it’s really hard on him, [and] it’s hard on me,” said Arians, who told him he’s “still very, very lucky. He has all his mobility and can play with his kids for a long, long time.”

Arians also said starting cornerback Jamel Dean (concussion) will not play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Left tackle Donovan Smith will be a “game-time decision,” Arians said. They’ll wait and see on starting left guard Ali Marpet (concussion) to see if he’ll clear the protocol, after missing the past three games but practicing in full all week.

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