ESPN: Sapp to have season-ending shoulder surgery

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Aug 17, 2005

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders placed defensive tackle Warren Sapp on injured reserve Saturday with a right shoulder injury, prematurely ending his 11th NFL season.

Sapp, who turns 33 next month, had been listed as doubtful during the week for Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins after injuring his shoulder during the Raiders' 16-13 win at Washington last Sunday.

He has a torn rotator cuff, the team said.

Sapp wasn't sure when he got hurt in the game. He had an MRI exam Wednesday and coach Norv Turner didn't immediately know the results, though Oakland downgraded Sapp to out on Friday's injury report.

"It's not a separation, no," Turner said Friday. "They're just making sure in terms of the structure and everything inside. I think we'll know something in a few days where he's at."

The team decided Saturday to place Sapp on IR for the final six games because the injury wasn't getting better. But it isn't considered career-threatening.

The loss of Sapp is a big blow for a Raiders defense that has made significant strides this season, and Sapp was having a comeback year after struggling in his first season with the Raiders in 2004 after nine years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He agreed to a seven-year, $36.6 million contract with the Raiders in March 2004, two months after winning the Super Bowl with the Bucs.

After spending much of last season as a defensive end in coordinator Rob Ryan's three-man front that didn't suit his skills, Sapp had moved back to the tackle position in the 4-3 alignment that he excelled in while making seven consecutive Pro Bowls for Tampa Bay.

To take Sapp's roster spot, the Raiders promoted offensive tackle Brad Lekkerkerker from the practice squad to the active roster. The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Lekkerkerker also was on the Raiders practice squad last season.