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Buccaneers, OL Carl Nicks agree to mutually part ways

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Carl Nicks is leaving Tampa after two seasons with the Buccaneers. (USATSI)
Carl Nicks is leaving Tampa after two seasons with the Buccaneers. (USATSI)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and offensive lineman Carl Nicks have agreed to mutually part ways, the team announced on Friday.

Nicks was one of three Bucs players who suffered from some form of MRSA last season, although the Pro Bowl lineman didn't specify whether or not MRSA played a role in his decision to leave the team. Nicks also insinuated that he may be done with football.

"I'd like to thank the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field," Nicks said in a statement. "However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it is what is best for me and my family as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."

According to FoxSports.com, part of the agreement between Nicks and the Buccaneers involved a financial settlement.

"I know this has been a difficult time for Carl and his family, but we respect his decision and thank him for his effort in trying to get back on the football field," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said. "Carl is a very prideful athlete and has been an elite level guard in the league. We are all disappointed that he will not be a part of this new chapter of Buccaneers football."

The MRSA outbreak hit Tampa's facilities in mid-August and Nicks one of the players diagnosed with an infection. Nicks was eventually cleared to play and he saw in action in two games before the infection returned in October.

Nicks had hoped to return to the Bucs in time for training camp, but instead decided he wasn't physically ready, leading to Friday's announcement that he's leaving the team.

The two-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $47.5 million deal with Tampa Bay in 2012 and ended up playing in a total of nine games with the Buccaneers. Before that, Nicks spent four seasons with the Saints, including 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl XLIV.

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