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McLeod out for season

Fullback placed on injured reserve as doctors continue tests to find the source of his chest pain.

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 28, 2000


TAMPA -- Fullback Kevin McLeod was going to make the team.

When the Bucs needed to grind out the ball, he was going to be one of the fullbacks leading the charge for Mike Alstott.

Everything seemed right until he began experiencing chest pains Wednesday.

Now, his future in football seems foggy.

The Bucs placed McLeod, in his second year from Auburn, on the injured reserve list because of a heart problem team doctors haven't been able to pinpoint. He is out for the season.

"He's continuing to get tests," coach Tony Dungy said. "There's something going on in there and we don't know all the ramifications. Our doctors felt like from his safety standpoint we couldn't let him play without having all the bases covered."

McLeod, unavailable for comment Sunday, improved late last season and into the playoffs. He caught a 17-yard touchdown from Eric Zeier in the game against the Dolphins this preseason and had been having a good training camp.

Wednesday, McLeod came to One Buc Place and reported chest pains. Team doctors took him to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he had a battery of tests for two days.

"It was tough for him and tough for us, but more so for him," Dungy said. "He was doing well and had no symptoms and then just suddenly (there were) some chest pains."

Dungy said inactive status quickly changed from being precautionary to "maybe he may not be able to play this year."

With McLeod out, the Bucs were forced to juggle their roster to ensure they have blocking help for Alstott in the power set. Dungy said Patrick Hape will be the main blocker and added that running back Rabih Abdullah (6-1, 230) may play some fullback.

"We're looking at that right now," Dungy said. "If we had to line up and go today, Patrick Hape would have to swing in between tight end and fullback, which he has done in the past."

The need for the extra blocking helped open the door for recently acquired tight end Blake Spence. "Blake was another one of those guys who was on the waiver wire and we liked a lot (coming out of Oregon, three years ago) and got chance to look at," Dungy said. "(He) looks like he can be an H-back type of guy. ... When you come in and pick things up, are able to go in and play and do a sufficient job and make a couple of plays, that reinforces the coaches' thoughts."

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