While Gerald McCoy’s eventual departure from the Buccaneers has seemed unavoidable for months, nonetheless it was a bit of a shocking feeling when it finally happened, especially to the players who have worked and toiled and fought next to him for years.
It was unsurprisingly a hot topic as players left the field following OTA’s on Tuesday and some, when speaking to the media, shared their feelings on the situation or stories from their time around the franchise’s third overall draft pick in 2010.
“It’s huge, it’s huge,” Vernon Hargreaves said of McCoy’s departure. “I don’t have to say anything about Gerald, everybody knows what he brought to the table. Business is business unfortunately, and we’re going to miss him for sure, we’re going to miss him.”
Although Beau Allen spent just one year with McCoy, signing with the Bucs during the 2018 offseason, he joined him on the team’s defensive line group. As a fellow defensive tackle, the two were likely tasked with working together as much as anyone else on the team throughout the season and training camp.
“I don’t want to say too much because I haven’t had the chance to speak with him yet,” Allen said. “I’d rather have that conversation with him in person than in front of you fine folk, but I was with him for one year and he’s a hell of a player, he’s a great a football player. He’s a great guy, I think a lot of times people forget about the guys that are behind the masks, especially in a situation like this. I can’t say enough about G as a player, as a guy, and I’m going to tell him that in person when I get the chance.”
Longtime offensive tackle Demar Dotson also shared his feelings on the departure. Dotson was unique in that he has quite possibly spent as much time as McCoy’s teammate over the years than anyone else, joining the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in 2009 – one year prior to McCoy – and remaining with the Bucs throughout both of their careers in Tampa Bay.
“Gerald is a tremendous player and he’s a tremendous person too,” Dotson said. “He communicates with everybody, he’s a good family man, he provides for his wife and kids and he’s a Godly Christian man. It’s just unfortunate it’s a business. When you’ve got a high salary and you start to get 30-years-old, that’s how the business is. One thing about Gerald, he can still play. He’s going to let you know he can still play and everybody believes that he can still play, so Gerald’s going to be OK.”
Dotson continued with a story from McCoy’s younger days with the team, highlighting the purely dominant nature that defensive tackle played with.
“I remember years ago, probably three or four years ago, this guy used to line up against the starting left guard, beat the left guard, go to the center and beat the center, go to the right guard and beat the right guard three times in a row,” Dotson said. “We used to joke about that. As he got older I said, ‘Man, remember when you used to go and line up three times in a row and beat every single guy?’ That’s just the kind of guy he was when he was younger and would work like that. As you get older you don’t put yourself through that because it’s hard but that’s just the kind of guy he was.”