Verner was signed by the Buccaneers in 2014 as the team went on a free agent spending spree in Jason Licht and Lovie Smith’s first year on the job. In addition to Verner, the Bucs added defensive end Michael Johnson, tackle Anthony Collins, quarterback Josh McCown and a handful of other free agents. The moves proved fruitless, as the team went 2-14, followed by a 6-10 season, that led to the departure of Smith.
The former UCLA Bruin came to the Bucs from the Tennessee where he had made the Pro Bowl, but Verner was never able to duplicate his success with the Titans as a Buccaneer.
Verner started 23 games for the Buccaneers over his three season in Tampa, and recorded 148 tackles, 20 pass breakups, four interceptions and three forced fumbles.
Verner fell out of favor with the Bucs in Lovie Smith’s second season, and was seldom used in Mike Smith’s scheme last year where he managed to start just three games. The emergence of rookie Vernon Hargreaves, who started all 16 games as a rookie in 2016, combined with the development of slot corner Javien Elliot and the signing of Brent Grimes as a free agent last season, relegated Verner to part time player.
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, the beach and family time.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@example.com
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