TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Kenjon Barner, who suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 38-31 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, has been suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the team announced Tuesday.
Barner was already unlikely to participate in Thursday night’s game at the Chicago Bears due to being in the concussion protocol, but now he won’t be eligible to play again until Tuesday, Nov. 10, leading up to Tampa Bay’s Week 9 game against New Orleans.
Barner has been on the practice squad but had been elevated the past two weeks onto the Bucs’ game-day roster, contributing a 33-yard kick return against the Denver Broncos. He also took some snaps on offense against the Chargers.
With Barner’s concussion and suspension, the Bucs are suddenly very thin at running back. Leonard Fournette missed last week’s game with an ankle injury, and LeSean McCoy also suffered an ankle injury.
Coach Bruce Arians acknowledged Tuesday that the Bucs might be down to two running backs Thursday night, as they cannot bring in any outside players due to them not being able to get through COVID-19 testing quickly enough with new league rules. A return for Fournette is a possibility.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” Arians said of Fournette. “He has made some improvement. We might run some tomorrow — we’ve been all walkthroughs up to this point — so we’ll see how he is tomorrow. He’ll probably be a game-time [decision] guy.”