The Tampa Bay Bucs should shut down Gerald McCoy.
It's for his own protection.
McCoy is a very passionate guy, which is a reason he is the best defensive tackle in the NFL.
But his emotion is overriding logic.
After injuring his knee last week during the Detroit game, perhaps dislocating it, he ran back onto the field without consulting with the Bucs' medical staff.
It was a heroic gesture, but reckless.
Perhaps all the losses he suffered since he came into the league in 2010 have affected McCoy's thinking.
The Bucs are 2-11 with three games left and going nowhere. They are track to grab the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Why spoil a good thing?
They also need to sit linebacker Lavonte David, their second-best defensive player, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury and concussion. He was cleared to play against Carolina this Sunday, but you have to wonder if that is in the best interest of the franchise.
Silly pride is standing in the way of common sense. Bucs head coach Lovie Smith can change that but doesn't seem inclined.
Maybe ego is fogging his head.
No one would call it tanking to sit his two best defenders and give McCoy and David more time to heal for next season.
Unfortunately, nothing this beleaguered franchise does seems easy.
McCoy says he won't "tank" games and doesn't want to his team to be called "spoilers."
Worse he has no qualms about playing injured like he did at Detroit.
You have to question his judgment. McCoy has never been to the playoffs. He is fueling the wrong fire.
"Is that what we are? Spoiler? I don't know where you got that," McCoy asked media folks last week. "It's not a get ready for next season (mentality), it's a finish out the season as strong as possible (mentality). These next three weeks we'll get to find out a whole lot about each other and see what type of guys we've really got on this team. There's no playoffs. You have to look at it as three opportunities and privileges to play the game."
The Bucs already know what they have with an offensive line that is causing nightmares and frightening little kids.
McCoy needs to relinquish his gladiator demeanor and put on a thinking man's cap.
For too long there has been too much overreaction at One Buc Place, which is why the organization is on its third head coach in the past four years after disposing of Captain Queeg Schiano and unqualified Raheem Morris after canning "Chucky."
The Bucs haven't done all that well with their first-round picks, most recently with Mark Barron, who has since been traded.
If McCoy wants to bring up that argument to justify him playing injured, we would have to listen. But his sore knee is scarier than Garrett Gilkey trying to center the ball.
To the disconsolate fans who want to lose, McCoy argues he is trying to build a winning culture and owes that to the Glazer family, which owns the team.
The Glazers have been mute while McCoy is singing conflicting praises:
"Regardless of what happens, each season week-in and week-out I'm going to do everything in my power to try and bring a championship here," McCoy said. "Regardless of what the record is, I'm never going to stop. I'm never going to quit and I'm trying to pass it on to everybody."
Noble words, but illogical. If you want to win a championship, you need a championship-quality quarterback, something the Bucs don't have.
It's a reason a lot of true Bucs fans will spend Sunday watching Johnny Manziel make his starting debut to avoid rooting for Carolina.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.