Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Vita Vea is already known as one of the NFL’s toughest players.
The 157kg behemoth only enhanced his reputation after barely flinching when having a tooth knocked out during the Bucs’ Week 12 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
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As Vea tussled with the duo, his chin strap slipped, causing his helmet to slide up and expose his jaw. Glowinski’s helmet connected with Vea’s mouth, causing one of his front teeth to come flying out.
Undeterred by the missing pearly-white, Vea left the field with a big, toothless grin as he pointed out his bloodied mouth to his teammates on the Bucs’ sideline.
“He lost a tooth!” Fox Sports Kevin Burkhardt exclaimed.
“And he’s smiling!
“Does the tooth fairy come for 26-year-olds? I’m just asking.”
Vita Vea just lost a tooth and is laughing it off 😳 pic.twitter.com/ajSSiPHICS
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 28, 2021
Asked about the incident post match, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians showed little sympathy for Vea’s freshly augmented smile.
“I don’t care,” Arians said.
“He’s got 30 other ones.
“He’ll play without a tooth, that ain’t nothing.”
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 28, 2021
Vea, who many observers consider to be the best nose tackle in the NFL, was questionable to take the field against the Colts after suffering a bone bruise and a slight MCL sprain a fortnight earlier.
Thankfully for Vea, his $3.7 million USD salary should more than take care of any upcoming dental bills.
Vita Vea, football guy pic.twitter.com/gMX7TbGNlm
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 28, 2021
Although the wearing of helmets make such incidents rare in the NFL, Vea was the second defensive lineman to loose a tooth during a game in recent seasons. Former Cincinnati Bengals pass-rusher Carl Lawson suffered the same fate in 2017.
Vea has recorded 20 total tackles (including 13 solo) with one sack, one fumble recovery, and two passes defended so far this season.
Despite the knee problem and rearranged jaw, Vea once again played a key role in a thrilling 38-31 win for the Bucs.
Leonard Fournette scored four touchdowns and Brady threw for 226 yards as Tampa Bay scored the go ahead touchdown through Fournette with 20 seconds left in the contest.
“Great win,” Arians said of the result.
“Coming here is a hard, hard place to win and we beat a really good football team who has been playing good.
“It wasn’t pretty the first 30 (minutes) but it was pretty the second 30. A good team victory.”
The result improved the Bucs’ record to 8-3 as they maintained top spot in the NFC South division, while the Colts fell to 6-6, leaving them second in the AFC South.
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