- Associated Press - Friday, October 11, 2013

TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers say a third player has been diagnosed with MRSA, a staph infection that is resistant to many common antibiotics.

General manager Mark Dominik made the announcement Friday, a day after confirming guard Carl Nicks is being treated for a recurrence of MRSA.

Dominik and coach Greg Schiano declined to identify the third player involved in the case diagnosed late Thursday, saying the player requested his name not be released.

“I’ve spoken to the player, I’ve spoken to his agent, and we’re not at liberty to confirm or deny any player right now,” Dominik said.

NFL.com reported the player was rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks.

The second-round draft pick out of Mississippi State was the only new addition Friday to the injury report, which said Banks did not practice due to illness. Banks is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia.

Nicks, who along with kicker Lawrence Tynes was diagnosed as having MRSA in August, also sat out practice. He is questionable to play against Philadelphia.

The team flew in an infectious disease expert to answer questions players had before practice. Schiano said the session lasted more than an hour, pushing back the team’s practice schedule.

“As in anything, I think so much of the fear is the unknown,” Schiano said. “So as we became better educated, I think kind of understands the game plan and how to make sure this doesn’t become a bigger problem.”

Dr. Deverick J. Anderson, an associate professor of medicine at the Duke University Medical Center and co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outwork Network said even though there are no other confirmed cases of MRSA on other NFL teams that he doesn’t feel players and staff in Tampa Bay are at any higher risk of coming in contact with MRSA.

Meanwhile, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith issued a statement on the situation.

“We have been involved in an ongoing review of the MRSA incidents in Tampa Bay initiated by the concerns we had about the manner in which team officials responded to these cases,” Smith said in a statement.

“We advised the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that an outside expert should be brought in to assess the situation and we are pleased with their decision to take that recommendation,” Smith added. “We have also been in regular contact with the player representatives from Tampa Bay. We will reach out to the Philadelphia Eagles player representatives today and provide them with our best medical guidance and regular updates from the outside experts.”

Smith said the situation in Tampa “underscores the need for a League-wide, comprehensive and standardized infectious disease protocol” as well as “improved accountability measures on health and safety issues by the NFL over the clubs.”

The initial cases of MRSA were confirmed while the Bucs were in New England holding joint practices with the Patriots before a preseason game. The team hired a company to sanitize One Buc Place, the team’s headquarters and training facility, on two separate occasions in an effort to minimize the prospect of other cases.

Story Continues →