Back in March at the NFL’s Annual League Meetings, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians raved about cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and all but said the fourth-year cornerback out of Florida would be one of the team’s two starting defensive backs.

Fast forward two months later, and the Bucs are rolling their two rookie cornerbacks, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean in rotation with second-year corners Carlton Davis and veteran Ryan Smith, while Hargreaves watches from the sideline, not practicing with the team.

Following Tuesday’s OTA that took place in the team’s indoor facility due to inclement weather, Arians didn’t seem pleased when asked about Hargreaves’ absence from the field.

When asked why Hargreaves was sitting out, Arians was blunt.

“You’ll have to talk to Vernon. He’s got to get his mind right for practice.”

Asked to elaborate, Arians told the media,”You’ll have to ask him(Hargreaves).”

Hargreaves is no stranger to missing practice – or games. In his first three seasons, the oft-injured Wharton High product has played a full 16-game schedule just once(2016), and has missed 22 games over the last two years including 15 in 2018 after suffering a shoulder injury in the season opener against the Saints.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

40 COMMENTS

  1. No one asked him why? Does anyone know?

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    • My thoughts exactly! BA told them to ask but I haven’t seen or heard anything to imply that anyone actually did

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  2. Looks like a changing of the guard on defense. VH3 may find he is left out of the party if he doesn’t show up soon. Good to hear that Bunting and Dean are seeing more playing time competing with Davis and R. Smith.

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  3. I mean its OTA’s, plus why not just make his sure his shoulder is 100%

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  4. Is he afraid of getting hurt? That makes two of us. Lol.

    Is he mad Licht has already moved on by drafting 4 cornerbacks in the last 2 years?

    Here we go with more drama.

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  5. I know one thing for sure. Arians will play the players that show up, take in coaching and instruction, and limit mental mistakes.

    VH3 needs to understand that Arians is no Koetter.

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  6. Hangnails are painful and take time to heal….

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  7. After looking at the photo, I have some ideas why he didn’t take the field.

    He was having a GOOD HAIR DAY!!

    He didn’t bring his safe to securely store his “Mr. T” collection of Prince necklaces?

    He opposes the market and consumer implications of the impending tariff war between China and the US, as evidenced by his sarcastic smirk and thumbs up?

    All jokes. Hopefully its a big fat nothing burger.

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  8. i’m guessing it’s about making a statement about practice habits. reminds me of the Willie Colon story from Pittsburgh. I hope it was warranted and not just to make an example of someone for the sake of looking tough…Arians did some of his best work before his star turn on All or Nothing and releasing his autobiography. let’s hope he’s not gotten caught up in being a caricature of Bruce Arians, The Quarterback Whisperer, rather than the authentic guy who earned all those accolades

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  9. Just another one in a long line of Licht draft busts. I know we can move on from him, but it’s not a good look after picking up his fifth year option.

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  10. As it stands the 2016 Draft is looking like it was one of the worst in franchise history.

    Jason Licht started with a top 10 pick in every round and is likely to have netted not one long term starter out of it. That’s an incredible amount of ineptitude given the draft capitol they had to begin with. Not coincidentally it was the first draft Jon Robinson had missed as he had taken the job with the Titans that off-season.

    The Titans selected 2016 First Team All Pro OT Jack Conklin and 2017 Pro Bowl Safety Kevin Byard in the first and third round respectively for Tennessee. Jason Licht traded up for an all-time bad kicker in the second round and Robinson’s fifth round cornerback selection Leshaun Sims has twice the amount of career interceptions as Licht’s first round selection Vernon Hargreaves (2>1). The kicker that Robinson would sign as an UDFA would later become a second team All Pro and Pro Bowler for the Giants in 2018 (Aldrick Rosas). Aguayo would be effectively out of the league after a year.

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  11. I’m with Buc stops here. The story doesn’t say anything about why VHIII is not practicing. Maybe Mark had a deadline and this was all he had to deliver lol. But then again, this is how good journalists get us common folk to talkin and making wild and crazy storylines…..

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  12. Well, I think Vernon has been a bit soft in his game, so I mean this doesn’t surprise me at all.

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  13. “The story doesn’t say anything about why VHIII is not practicing. Maybe Mark had a deadline and this was all he had to deliver lol.”

    The coach said they’d have to ask Vernon. Perhaps Vernon wasn’t available?

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  14. BA’s tough guy approach might be dividing the locker room. Hope to be wrong but we shall see.

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  15. @captain-sly If BA is dividing the locker room, it will be between the guys that want to be here and work and the guys that don’t. I really liked Dirk, but not a lot of accountability on his teams.

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  16. yea we know. another Licht bust that’s what he is. He’ll be gone after this year. Already in arians dog house. not even mid may

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  17. No more acting like you’re at dance practice! Should have drafted Tunsil.

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  18. Not sure what everyone is missing. BA clearly said vhiii needed to come mentally ready to practice. That’s why he isn’t training.

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  19. A first round bust. He was not the guy I wanted that year.

    Retooling or rebuilding. It doesn’t matter. This is a new regime and a new team. Looking for a winning season despite the hand that the NFL dealt us this year. Working as a fan to be optimistic.
    _____________________
    Culture Change, Team=>Fans
    Go Bucs!!!!! Win Now!

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  20. Devashar, 2016 was not good but now for the rest of the story. Conklin had one good year to make All Pro but has been injury prone for the rest of the time.

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  21. I didn’t want him either, I wanted a DL but everyone else was screaming for him because he was a Gator. Who cares.
    But despite hi complimentary remarks, BA may have found another millionaire who doesn’t want to put the work in to be a winner.
    I think if he gets cut this year there are no salary cap ramifications.
    Also, Devashar, Conklins fifth year option was not picked up by the Titans.

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  22. BA is going to hold players accountable. That’s something none of them under Koetter is used to. BA watched the practice tape as well as game tape and he’s addressing things right away… even in voluntary’s. Good for him. Glad to hear it.

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  23. So much speculation and negativity.. Probably deserved with what we’ve been accustomed to with our Bucs breaking our hearts and embarrassing us. Though, B.A. didn’t seem pissed about the Hargreaves situation which tells me it is more about Vernon needing to get confidence back in his shoulder after the surgery. I remember how tough it was for me as a high school baseball player that had broken my foot to the point of surgery rounding a base. It took time to gain confidence in repeating the act that caused the injury. I’m sure he’ll be just fine once he gets the confidence back. No reason to push right now.

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  24. Looking back, Deforest Buckner DE and Ronnie Stanley OT were already gone when we picked. Sheldon Rankins DT, Laremy Tunsil OT and Shaq Lawson DE were on my radar.

    That’s water over the dam now.
    _____________________
    Culture Change, Team=>Fans
    Go Bucs!!!!! Win Now!

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  25. @drdneast correct, Conklin is in a prove it year after his knee and concussion issues. That said one First Team All-Pro season is exactly one more First Team All-Pro season than any Licht draft selection has ever had, let alone in the 2016 draft class which has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting one at this point(Evans had a second team All-Pro nod in 2016).

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  26. Hargreaves needs tough love and BA doesn’t put up with soft players. Hargreaves it’s time to put up or shut up and find another team. BA is all about accountability

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  27. Devashar, I liked Rankins an awful lot that year and I think the Saints picked him right behind us. I still like him and I know the Saints do. But like I said, I remember a lot of people out here lobbying for Hargreaves because he came out of Florida which is just an asinine reason to draft anyone because they went to your favorite college team.
    I can only remember one good player we ever got out of Florida and he was actually a FA RB named Ernest Graham who was misused and under utilized by the brilliant Jon Gruden.

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  28. Bust… Licht

    Tastes like crap. The end.

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  29. All pure speculation. Here we have a player who was graded by all of the experts as a top pick that year. He was no “reach” although I wasn’t a fan of the choice at the time. Yet folks here blame Jason Licht for Vernon’s shortcomings, that up until now, have been impacted by injuries and playing in a ridiculous scheme.

    Bruce seemed to want Hargreaves to lead the DB/CB group and said things aimed at boosting his fragile confidence. With an opportunity to do just that and take the reigns, #28 must have come to OTA without taking his role seriously enough. Bet Bruce’s “there’s a new sheriff in town” reaction to Vernon’s demeanor got the entire roster’s attention. Exactly what has been needed to return the culture to the Dungy/Gruden era.

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  30. Several local reporters believe this was a calculated move on Arians part. Rick Stroud said that publicly calling out players is not just something Bruce Arians did to Vernon Hargreaves Tuesday. It’s calculated and has happened before. I was told Arians was trying to provide “motivation” to VH3. Greg Auman said that this was not a blindside. Players are told in advance that they are going to be called out. Everybody’s talking about it so Arians probably achieved his purpose. Pretty sure every player on the team got the message.

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  31. Arians should be careful here because he’s going to need these veterans to play for him if he expects to have any success. I have no problem with the iron fist approach but it only works when you have the respect of your players backing you. VH3,McCoy,and Lavonte could use some fire but these veterans have also been responsible for coaches getting fired. Unless BA is willing to clean house he’d better tread lightly on this Iron Fist Thing.

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  32. I’ve seen nothing from VH to suggest he’s the answer. One interception as a rookie, that’s it. Dude dances more than he plays.

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  33. VH3 is a total Clown. Plays half a season two years ago then not even 1 full game last year? Total China doll. Even When he’s on field he hasn’t even been average either. Glad Arians is calling out the asshats. Get serious or get replaced. Koetter and his regime didn’t do this to their peril.

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  34. “He’s got to get his mind right for practice”- WHAT!!!! Sorry, I don’t usually yell, by using all caps in a post, but what is with VH3? Given all the work he has put in over his 23 years on this earth, his mind should be right to practice or play football 24/7/365.

    When I was 23 and if I had had the skills and opportunity VH3 or any of the youngsters on the Bucs have, which I obviously did not, I would have been one of those guys that BA would have to run out of the building or off the field every night. Even then the security guards would calling BA at 2 a.m. to ask about this guy trying to get back into the building.

    As a 63-year old man, whose life’s work involved leading, molding, and teaching young men and women, like BA and his coaches are trying to do, I understand that part of the job includes patience. But, when presented with the opportunity of a lifetime and the horse just plain refuses to drink, maybe it’s time to start thinking about getting a new horse. VH3 would tell me one more time that his “mind’s not right to practice” and he would find himself being handed a black plastic trash bag to pack his trash and head on down the road.

    Not mentally ready to practice, my ass!

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  35. Welp sounds like this was at least partially injury and confidence (due to the injury) related, according to Auman today. So sounds more like a big ol pile of nothing to me. Seeing as Arians has done this in the past with the likes of Calias Campbell, I’m not reading into it. If it turns into something more later on, I’ll pay it more attention. But right now all this does is bait people into over-reactions, and it clearly has succeeded at doing just that.

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  36. reality is he can not fit that funky hairdo under any nfl helmet, and chooses to be cool rather than ball out…

    also i heard he told bruce “i’m still high af and the meth from last night hasn’t fully worn off yet”

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  37. IF VH3 can’t practice in non contact drills now what is he going to do when the hitting starts in two months? Arians is telling him to become more mentally tough as many players play through injuries. This is one injury that VH3 can play through with non contact drills.

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  38. Agree Alldaway. This injury spin is a bit dismissive and is not a good look on VH3 after the Bucs have guaranteed his fifth year option at 9 million that goes to him even if injured. This is ugly posturing. BA called him out on it. If VH3 is going there already before we’ve even had contact practices, then it’s definitely not a good look. And if he was THAT injured, why show up for voluntary practice without some prior communication with the Head Coach and coaching staff? If there’s a way to get rid of VH3 for some value, then I think that’s the path that has begun. We can thank the soft mentality that has plagued the Bucs organization during Koetter’s years, especially the defense and Mike Smith… but the “vet” presence of Brent Grimes last year was also a bad influence to be sure.

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  39. slice and dice…cut the whole team….Cleveland here I come….I see another losing season in my crystal ball…people complaining about VH3, McCoy, etc etc etc Its almost as bad as being a Giant or Jet fan…they complain about everything

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