Bruce Arians and the Bucs front office made a move that came as a surprise on Tuesday when they released veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. The former Gators standout was benched on Sunday for a lack of hustle and promptly cut two days later despite being the Bucs’ most veteran corner, sending a message to the rest of the team.
The topic of Hargreaves’ release was still very present in the locker room on Wednesday, and some of his former teammates gave their thoughts on the news.
“It was eye opening to me,” said quarterback Jameis Winston, who had been a teammate of Hargreaves for four seasons. “But I know Vern, I know the type of player that he is, I’ve been playing against him for a long time. I know he’s going to bounce back and be a superstar again.”
Rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting has only known Hargreaves since training camp, but playing the same position and spending all that time together had them form a natural bond. Murphy-Bunting expressed what Hargreaves meant to him, but also understands the nature of the business.
“It’s part of the game, you can’t really dwell on it,” Murphy-Bunting said. “That’s my brother now and forever, so he’s always got a friend in me. That was a decision that the GM felt they needed to make and just went on from there.”
Another rookie cornerback, Mazzi Wilkins, was just called up to the 53-man roster for the first time in his career after spending all season on the practice squad. He, like Murphy-Bunting, only knew Hargreaves for a year, but there’s familiarity again from playing the same position. Wilkins found the news as a surprise.
“It was shocking,” Wilkins said. “But that’s part of the business. I mean, that’s not my business, I mind my own business, really. I wish the best for him.”