The Buccaneers filled a roster spot on Tuesday, re-signing offensive lineman Derek Hardman to the active roster, after placing tackle Jeremy Trueblood on injured reserve. Hardman had been working out in Tampa since his release earlier this season and was happy when the phone call came from the Buccaneers.
The life of an NFL backup is – for the most part – a wild roller-coaster ride. Offensive lineman Derek Hardman has ridden the rickety track, and felt the dips, bumps and loops since coming out of in Eastern Kentucky in 2010, when he signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent.
Hardman was re-signed to the roster on Tuesday after the Buccaneers placed backup offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood on injured reserve. PewterReport.com caught up with Hardman on Tuesday inside the locker room, and the former starter talked about what the ride has been like since joining the league.
“It’s tough (that emotional swing) but you just have to have faith in something higher,” Hardman said. “Football is not the end of everything, but it is a great job and it is fun. I want to scratch it out as long as I can.”
Hardman has had some success in the NFL when as a rookie he played in nine games, including four as a starter. Since his release in Spetember, Hardman was hopeful a call would come, if not from the Buccaneers, then at least from another team in the league.
“I have pretty much stayed in Tampa, spending my time working at the D1 (sports training facility),” Hardman said. “I had a workout in Detroit and a couple calls about joining as a practice squad player, but I can’t do that (no eligibility). My best chance was here and now, here I am.”
With Davin Joseph, Carl Nicks, Desmond Wynn and now Trueblood done for the season and on injured reserve, the Buccaneers are dangerously thin across the offensive line. Hardman feels like he can play anywhere on the line and is willing to do so if called upon.
“I played tackle in college, and guard my first year here, and ever since then,” Hardman said. “But whatever they tell me to do… We haven’t had a sit down talk about it yet. I am just happy to be here.”
One who is extremely happy to see Hardman back is good friend and current center Ted Larsen.
“He has played in quite a few games and is a veteran and can help us with depth,” Larsen said. “He looks good and stayed in shape so it will definitely be beneficial.
“He had a really good preseason and brings some versatility to play both sides Larsen. And the main thing is he is so fresh right now. He has done a great job keeping himself in shape and will had some great depth. Especially the fact he has played here and has the knowledge, that’s huge.”
Hardman knows the roller coaster ride could start clicking back up the incline at any point, but is hoping he can stick around for a little longer.
“I know the offense and will pick up on where they are quickly,” Hardman said. “Hopefully I can help out that way. Hopefully I can help bring along some of the young guys. Hopefully just contribute in some way.
“Once you get to this level, and as a backup in the NFL, you have to be able to play any side and do whatever you can to help the team.”
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.