Former Pitt star and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead suffered a torn labrum in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, but he will play against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday despite the injury.
This week, Whitehead was a limited participant in Tampa Bay’s practices on Wednesday and Thursday but returned as a full participant on Friday. That left his status as questionable heading into the weekend, but on Sunday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com revealed he would play.
“Jordan Whitehead is going to play through a fully torn labrum in Super Bowl LV, source said, an injury that includes additional shoulder damage,” Rapoport said. “He’ll play in pain.”
Last time Whitehead took the field was on Jan. 24 against the Packers, and in that game, the Pitt alum put on one of his best performances of the season. On two occasions, he forced fumbles by Packers running back Aaron Jones, and one was recovered and returned by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White to set up a score. And thanks in part to Whitehead’s efforts, Tampa Bay earned a 31-26 win.
With Whitehead set to start for the Buccaneers on Sunday, it will mark the fifth straight year that a Pitt alum has started on a Super Bowl team. In 2020, K’Waun Williams started at cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers; in 2019, Aaron Donald started on the defensive line of the Los Angeles Rams; and in 2018 and 2017, Dion Lewis was a starting kick returner for the New England Patriots in addition to serving as one of the team's running backs.
Alongside Whitehead will be former Pitt running back LeSean McCoy, who will serve as a backup for the Buccaneers, and the Chiefs will not have any Pitt products in tow.
Super Bowl LV will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, meaning the Buccaneers will be the first team to play on their home field in a Super Bowl. The game will get underway at 6:30 p.m. ET.