Football is a rough and physical game, but no part of the game is quite as tough as the battle in the trenches.
Vita Vea helped to prove that on Sunday afternoon when he lost a tooth during the Buccaneers’ Week 12 matchup with the Colts while trying to fight through Indianapolis’ offensive line.
Vea, a 346-pound defensive tackle, was double-teamed on a play by center Ryan Kelly and guard Mark Glowinski. His helmet began to slide up and he took a shot to the chin from Glowinski. That knocked his tooth out, as you can see via the replay below.
Vea didn’t seem too bothered by the hit. He went back to the sideline and pointed at the newly formed gap in his smile. He didn’t miss much time with the minor problem, either. He continued to work to prevent Jonathan Taylor from generating yards up the middle of the field.
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Believe it or not, Vea isn’t the first defensive lineman to lose teeth during a game in recent seasons. Pass-rusher Carl Lawson once lost a couple of teeth while playing for the Bengals. He described the near sack of then-Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer back when it occurred in 2017:
“I got around the edge, and I thought I got a sack, but they said the ball was going forward,” Lawson said, per ESPN. “When I was bringing him down, I just see my teeth in the air for like two seconds. I was like, ‘Holy crap.'”
Lawson wasn’t wearing a mouthguard when he lost his teeth. It didn’t look like Vea was either, so perhaps he’ll reconsider that decision after losing one of his pearly whites.
And maybe he’ll reach out to Lawson, now with the Jets, to see if he can recommend a way to replace his now-missing tooth.