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McFarland breaks his right forearm

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 28, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It likely was the most physical game the Bucs have played this season, and it came with a price.

Defensive tackle Anthony McFarland, who was making his fourth year in the league his best, broke his right forearm early in the third quarter and did not return.

Receiver Joe Jurevicius, who started for the injured Keenan McCardell, sprained his right knee and ankle. He will be evaluated today but said he doesn't think the injuries are severe.

Starting left guard Kerri Jenkins got poked in the eye in the second and did not return. Long-snapper Ryan Benjamin has a right hamstring strain, and backup linebacker Ryan Nece has a left knee strain.

The biggest concern is McFarland, who left the locker room in a soft cast.

"I don't know anything about it yet," McFarland said. "I couldn't tell you what's going on. It's a break in the forearm."

Said coach Jon Gruden: "We don't know the full severity of that but we're obviously very concerned."

McFarland is scheduled to be evaluated today but is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Vikings. Either Chartric Darby, Ellis Wyms or Buck Gurley would fill that spot.

"Obviously, when you lose a player of Booger's caliber it's going to hurt your defense," linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "At the same time, it provides an opportunity for Chuck, Ellis or Buck Gurley to step up and make their mark in this league."

* * *

KING FOR A PLAY: For 59 minutes, 46 seconds, backup quarterback Shaun King stood on the sideline, occasionally loosening up, but mostly watching the game. But in the final 14 seconds, with starter Rob Johnson out for a play, King proved he still can play in this league.

On first down at the Carolina 35, King completed a quick 7-yard pass to Karl Williams, who got out of bounds and stopped the clock. The play set up a 47-yard field-goal attempt, which Martin Gramatica hit to win the game.

"I didn't have jitters," King said. "That's what they pay me for, to get ready. I'm not sure exactly what happened to Rob when he went out of bounds. But they told me he couldn't go, so I just ran in.

"That's why they call it a professional football league. We're professionals, we have to be ready to do our job. The toughest part is not playing. But you have to stay with it because you never know when you have to go in."

Said safety John Lynch: "Shaun's so smooth, so cool. He just ran out there, throws a little out to Karl and it turns out to be a huge play in the game. That's big. A lot of guts."

SPEAKING OF JOE: Although injured, Jurevicius continues to show why he needs more playing time. The former New York Giant, who signed as a free agent this offseason, finished with five catches for 55 yards.

"That's what they brought me in here for," he said. "All I have ever asked for is a good opportunity to get on the field. I was asked last week if I felt pressure and I said there is none.

"I've been playing this game for a long time now. I enjoy it. It's something I love doing and I'm going to make the best of it."

BK BROILER: Cornerback Brian Kelly got his third interception of the season. Trailing 9-6 in the fourth, Kelly picked off Randy Fasani, giving the Bucs the ball on the Panthers 49.

"I try not to analyze everything and let things come," Kelly said. "Teams are not throwing to Ronde (Barber). Obviously, that's a credit to him because he's been playing great.

"So if they want to challenge me, I have capitalize on it. I have to look at it as an opportunity to make plays, not as they are picking on me."

REGGIE'S FIRST: He was inactive for the first seven games, but reserve receiver Reggie Barlow came up with two big catches in the fourth.

Barlow gained a first down on a 4-yard reception.

"I guess the credit comes from working hard in practice, staying with it," Barlow said. "Nobody wants to practice all week and not be able to play, but we had a couple of guys nicked up, and myself and Karl knew we would be counted on. ... I was like, 'Man, here's an opportunity to make some plays,' and we did enough to win."

Barlow also had what would have been a 14-yard reception at Carolina's 34, but the play was ruled an incomplete pass. Replays showed Barlow had possession, but the Bucs had used both challenges.

Tampa Bay finished the drive with a 52-yard Gramatica field goal to make it 9-6.

"That would have been huge and who knows, we might not have needed Martin," Barlow said.

"But I'll take the win. That's what the NFL is all about, fighting to the end."

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