It’s been an offseason full of positive news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so far. That is, perhaps until now as a video has surfaced of what appears to be Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III smoking what could be marijuana, although the content of whatever he is smoking is obviously unknown, at this time, so it could be something else. Regardless, it’s not a good look for the 2016 first-round pick that is struggling to maintain a starting job in Tampa Bay. There is no time stamp on the video and it is unclear if it was taped recently or some time ago in the past.
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves lighting up that good?? Deff not a good look 😐 pic.twitter.com/YWzAK67vSi
— 𝕁𝕠𝕖-𝕝 🤙🏾 (@JameisInDaCut) March 28, 2018
The video comes from an Instagram account that was created just a few days ago with a handle similar to that of Hargreaves’ official account, and appears to be a fake account. The video has been posted twice on the page itself and once in the account’s Instagram story. UPDATE: the account has since been deleted.
The video reaching the pubic is likely a scenario much similar to the one offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil faced on draft night just a few years ago. During that evening, a clip was released of Tunsil smoking pot through a gas mask just minutes before the 2016 NFL Draft was about to begin. Both of these videos, Tunsil’s and allegedly Hargreaves’, are likely only in the public eye because of slanderous motives by those who obtained them, trying to make the players look bad.
Marijuana is legal in some states, but is considered to be a banned substance by the NFL. The league randomly gives drug tests to its players and a positive test can result in the player being put into the NFL’s substance abuse program, and can lead to a possible suspension.
The Bucs were still expecting big things from Hargreaves in 2018 and were going to likely give him a chance to start opposite Brent Grimes again as an outside cornerback, but at the very worst be their starting nickel defender, according to Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, who just defended Hargreaves at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando, Fla. on Tuesday.
“We need Vernon to come back and play well and I think he will,” Koetter said. “Two things about Vernon. One, he had the hamstring injury, which lingered a long time. Vernon did not have a great year outside. Vernon played good at nickel and you’re in nickel 65 percent of the time. If Vernon was your starting nickel and you had another guy you liked at the other corner opposite Grimes, there is not a team in the league that wouldn’t like to have Vernon Hargreaves as their nickel. Now you usually don’t pick a guy in the first round to be your nickel, but you know, stuff works out how it works out. Vernon is going to be a big part of what we do. I know he’s anxious to get started and he wants to be an every down player, but at the very least, Vernon’s going to be our starting nickel.”
If this video is what it looks like it could be, those plans may change — and quickly — including who Tampa Bay might prioritize in the 2018 NFL Draft. One of the possible considerations at No. 7 is Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, who is regarded as the top cover cornerback in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Buccaneers have no comment at this time.