Bucs' Ward: TNF 'detrimental to the players' health'

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Add Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward to an unopposed list of NFL players who could do without Thursday Night Football.

"I despise Thursday night games," Ward said, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. "They talk about how they want to keep us healthy, and all these rules to protect the quarterback and protect the receivers, but overall, this is probably the worst thing for a 53-player roster that you can have."

Ward knows he's not alone with these sentiments.

"All players feel that way," he said. "I bet you there's not one player in this whole NFL, or coach, that wants to play Thursday. Not one. For the league to do that, they really don't care about our health."

Ward, who missed the Buccaneers' Week 4 game against the New York Giants due to a hip injury, returned to practice for the first time on Tuesday but is still uncertain of his status for the Week 5 game against the New England Patriots. The shortened week lessens his chances of being ready to go.

"I don't even feel right until Thursday or Friday, I'm starting to feel normal," Ward said. "You're telling me you're taking away from my ability to recover and be healthy for a normal week and you're taking three days away from it. It comes quicker than the regular Sunday, and mentally you don't have as many days to prepare."

While NFL fans have been treated to all-time classics like the 13-9 Houston Texans victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, Ward says no one wins with TNF.

"It's a double negative. Triple negative because it's not doing that well rating-wise. I guess now it has picked up, but before it was doing terrible. You're making extra money as a league for that day, but it's detrimental to the players' health."