FAB 4. No More Bad Characters In Tampa Bay

Bucs general manager Jason Licht gets at least one more draft in Tampa Bay and at least one more round of free agency. There is a decent chance that he may draft or sign a bust – a player that just doesn’t perform up to expectations. That happens virtually every year with every general manager around the league. No G.M. has a perfect draft or a perfect free agent class.

Drafting or signing a bust is one thing, but drafting or signing a player with bad character is another. A player with bad character is also called a “turd” in NFL scouting circles to define a player with a crappy attitude.

The Big Takeaway
Players that don’t play well are one thing. Players that have cancerous attitudes can really stink up a locker room. In a critical year in Tampa Bay for Licht and first-year head coach Bruce Arians, the Bucs general manager needs to do a clean flush of the locker room and get rid of any bad characters, but more importantly – don’t add any more in free agency or the draft.

Now you may ask why I am signaling to Licht to stay away from such players, yet suggesting that the Bucs consider signing running back Kareem Hunt, who was kicked off the Chiefs on December 1 for what would be classified as misdemeanor assault towards a woman in Cleveland last offseason if he were charged with anything. By all accounts, Hunt was a great teammate in Kansas City, just as Jameis Winston, despite his previous off-field issues, has been a great teammate in Tampa Bay. He’s also taken full responsibility for his actions and I believe in forgiveness.

Bucs DT Chris Baker - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DT Chris Baker – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

When I talk about guys with bad character I’m talking about left tackle Anthony Collins, who stunk up the joint and took the money and ran in 2014 while butting heads with offensive line coach George Warhop, and also tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round draft pick, whose alcohol problems early in his career led to his quick demise as a Buccaneer after he butted heads with head coach Dirk Koetter.

The one-year locker room cancer that was defensive tackle Chris “Swaggy” Baker (or was it Chris “Lazy” Baker) has been well documented, but there were two other turds who stunk it up over the last year in Tampa Bay – wide receiver DeSean Jackson and cornerback Brent Grimes. First, let’s recap Jackson’s two-year tenure with the Bucs, which will be coming to an end this offseason after he gets cut or traded.

On December 21, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times wrote this: “Interviews with coaches and players confirm that Jackson was fined extensively for being late to meetings and sometimes fell asleep in them. He rarely took notes.

It got worse in the final months. Jackson refused to play catch with one of his coaches one day before practice and was told to sit out.

Just before Christmas last year, he played cards in the locker room with his former Washington teammate, defensive tackle Chris Baker, and was late to a meeting. When told he would be fined again, Jackson erupted and kicked over a display Bucs receivers were using for a secret Santa gift exchange. He then became involved in a physical altercation with one of his coaches and had to be restrained by a teammate.”

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Jackson had several tantrums on the sidelines of Bucs games this year when he wasn’t getting the ball when Jameis Winston returned to the lineup, and then despite the team’s 27-9 win against the 49ers, Jackson took to social media to vent over the fact that he had just three catches for 19 yards. Jackson asked to be traded prior to the trade deadline, and then said on his podcast that he wanted to stay and retire with the Bucs a few weeks later. Then in December, Jackson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he wanted to move on from Tampa Bay and put his house up for sale.

Good riddance, DJax.

Then there was the play of cornerback Brent Grimes, who had to be talked out of retirement to come back to play one more year at age 35. Talking a player into staying when he has one foot out the door was Licht’s second mistake. His first mistake was signing Grimes in the first place a few years ago because his outspoken wife Miko is a ticking timebomb.

It’s like having a pet boa constrictor. You can pet it and hold it, but if you think you’ve truly made it domesticated and try to sleep with it, it tries to strangle you and kill you.

The danger of a boa constrictor is always there. Why? Because at the end of the day it’s a snake.

The first couple of years in Tampa Bay, Grimes played well with four interceptions, 24 pass breakups and a game-winning pick-six in 2016, followed by 11 pass breakups and three more INTs in 13 games in 2017. But last year, Grimes’ production nose-dived. In 13 games, Grimes had zero interceptions and came into the season finale with just three pass breakups.

Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Grimes seemed like he checked out mentally from the start, as he had a lackluster training camp, sitting out over a week with an injury that was never identified by the media. Grimes looked like he played soft throughout the year, rarely made plays and looked disinterested in making tackles in the run game.

After the season, he took to Miko’s podcast to defend his play and make a startling revelation and blasted the Bucs in the process.

“I mean, it’s an opinion, I don’t feel like I had a bad year,” Grimes said. “I had multiple games where I didn’t have a target. I allowed two touchdowns.

“Fans really don’t know. That’s why the owners in football have a great advantage, because they can paint whatever picture they want to paint because people don’t really know what’s going on. I play football and watching TV copies you can’t really tell what the f*** is going on. You don’t know. It’s whatever – people are going to say what they’re going to say.

“Going into this season I wasn’t sure if I was going to play. They called. They were running some weird numbers with the money or whatever. I get there, and we come to an agreement of a base salary of $7 million, which is nice money to play left corner or whatever, okay. I’ve been playing left corner – everything is cool. Y’all want to pay me $7 million when other corners are making way more than that and not playing as well as me, cool.

“But we get to the Steelers [game in Week 3] and then they start asking me to follow people and I was just tired of every year of my career I don’t get any type of respect for what I do. And then y’all hit me with the seven [million dollars] and then we get to a game with Antonio Brown and now it’s follow receivers and I couldn’t agree with that. Because it’s just disrespectful because people that follow receivers all the time, unless they’re on a rookie contract or trying to get paid, are usually making $13–15 million dollars per year. That’s not right. It’s disrespectful and that just f***ed up my whole vibe for the whole year to be completely honest. Because it’s just disrespectful, I just felt disrespected.”

Bucs CB Brent Grimes - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Grimes went on to detail how he and cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke didn’t get along, and how he was benched for being on his phone at the halftime of the Bears game despite that being common practice with the team throughout the year. Players being on their phones at halftime instead of listening to the coaches talk about halftime adjustments seems like an entirely different problem altogether and speaks volumes about the losing culture that engulfed the Koetter regime.

But at the end of the day, Grimes wasn’t benched for poor play throughout the year like he should have been because head coach Dirk Koetter was likely afraid Miko would take to social media and make a big stink about it, criticize the coaches and the team, and air out the Bucs’ dirty laundry publicly – just like she did in her husband’s last stop, which was in Miami. Koetter was trying to do everything he could to win enough games to salvage his job, and couldn’t afford to let Miko rock the boat, so he let the Grimes-Hoke situation ride, which was a mistake.

Grimes needed somebody to tell him that the “CB” in front of his name stood for “cornerback” – not “Coach Brent.” Players play and coaches coach.

Good riddance, Grimes.

Players make way more money than position coaches do. For $7 million per season – which isn’t chump change for a player that turned out to be chump corner in his final year in Tampa Bay – Grimes should have done whatever his coaches asked him to do with a smile on his face. Football is the ultimate team sport and the best teams are the ones that usually have a lot of players with team-first attitudes.

Grimes clearly didn’t have a team-first attitude. Instead he had selfish, money-grubbing attitude and he set a poor example for a lot of the team’s younger defensive backs and rookies.

Do you think Adam Humphries’ “vibe was f***ed up” by being told to return punts in addition to playing slot receiver last year? Do you think Humphries griped about not getting paid more to play special teams in addition to offense?

Heck no, Hump went out and balled in a contract year, doing as much for the team as he was asked to do. That’s why the Bucs are going to attempt to re-sign him to a contract extension this offseason while waving goodbye to selfish players like Jackson and Grimes.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs GM Jason Licht and WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The FABulous Ending
Were there problems with Koetter and his coaching staff in Tampa Bay? Yes, and that’s a big reason why Koetter was fired. Grimes isn’t entirely wrong for calling out some of the faults with the scheme under Mike Smith and some of the chaos that ensued over the last year and half before Smith got fired. But it’s Grimes’ attitude – and the attitudes of players like Collins, Seferian-Jenkins and Jackson that have literally stunk in Tampa Bay over the last couple of seasons.

I think Arians, who is a no-nonsense coach, won’t tolerate any more guys with questionable character in Tampa Bay. But Licht needs to do his part and make sure he stops importing them in free agency and the draft.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

Arians more in involved with the draft? Love it.

Two practices going for vets and youth? Love it.

Cutting the cancerous players from this team? Love it.

Finally a coaching staff that will develop, train and let the players play to their strengths. We are very lucky as Bucs fans.

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Buc stops here
1 year ago

Kareem Hunt? Sure they could sign him, but I would hesitate before I did if I was in their position. Why? Because his family is a bunch of criminals – and he is going down the same path. The Bucs are already giving Winston a third chance, how many chances does Hunt now get? What is this saying to the women who are getting attacked? Is the “Metoo” movement exempt in the NFL? Hunt’s father, also named Kareem Hunt, has been arrested at least 35 times in northeast Ohio and multiple times on charges of domestic violence. Most of the… Read more »

Ivan Figueroa
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

grow up

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Buc stops here
1 year ago
Reply to  Ivan Figueroa

Grow up? Are you kidding me? I am presenting the other side of the story. Don’t like it, give me a thumbs down. Nothing I wrote is not the truth about the extended family – or him. Image is part of the NFL.

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Devasher
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

Wonderful post @bucstopshere5 the information you’ve posted is exactly what any franchise in the NFL would pay an investigator to find out. To the people who downvoted that post I’d love to hear your explanation why a background check on a player and word of caution is something you disagree with. To some knowledge is power, to others ignorance is bliss.

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cgmaster27
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

That’s a an good bit of research there bucstops! I didnt know he came from a family with such trouble. I hate to put the sins of the father on the sun, but hunt has also done some bad things. Do I believe the bucs should pick him up? I do if its vented and he signs a contract with a ton of offset lagnuage. Again ,it is vision thing to as to how this looks to the public, but we shall see. Again a great bit of research sir Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please… Read more »

76Buc
1 year ago
Reply to  cgmaster27

I believe in second chances. I’ve had them. Guys can get away from the home boys back in the hood or wherever, but it’s hard to run away from your family.
That said, it can be done.

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Buc stops here
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

I should not get all the credit. It was originally posted online, I believe on USA Today on research everything his family has gone through. Thank you devasher, cgmaster27. It is eye opening.

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Bucsfan1983
1 year ago

I like that you have McCoy in your 3-4 lineup. I think he should return on a restructured contract. He deserves to be on a Bucs playoff team. I think he along with Vea and Nassib, could be the 3 down lineman. I also like the 4 LBs you have, JPP, Kwon, David and Beckwith. I’d like to see the Honey Badger start opposite of Evans. He signed a 1 year deal with Houston last March. A reunion with BA would be great. I’m also open to the Hunt idea, I thought about it the minute he was released. And… Read more »

Bucco63
1 year ago

I’m on the fence with Hunt. I like Winston and believe he is a better and different man than he was, but unfortunately I don’t think the Bucs can handle the PR of including Hunt with Winston already on the roster. If Jameis didn’t have that history, I think it could be sold better as a second chance. No doubt we could use his talent. As an Oklahoma State alum I do feel I need to clarify and defend the mention of Tyreek Hill while there. OSU did the right thing and cut him immediately when this occurred. It was… Read more »

Buc76
1 year ago

Are you out of your mind? Obviously you know nothing about politics and business. Do you think for a minute Darcie Glazer would allow that? Did you not see her in the picture taken with Arians and the family? Yea that’s a good idea, let’s alienate all the women fans. Dude you are not a businessman. You never will be if you come up with crap like this. On video is another Ray Rice. He will never play football again. What a dumb comment. Stick to what you know. Xs and Os and nothing else Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

MichaelMyersIsABucsFan
Reply to  Buc76

Buc76 Hunt will be in the NFL again. Ray Rice was already on his downward slide. If and that’s a big If Hunt is getting the help he needs and shows it in the community he will be fine and I would like to have him in Tampa.

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Lamb Chop
1 year ago

I think Brent Grimes is a turd after his podcast revelations. But, to say that Licht made a mistake signing him in the first place is a bigger load of turd. I call BS on that. The way Grimes played for the Bucs in the first few years was a breath of fresh air. There wasn’t a corner since Ronde and BK that opposing QBs had to fear until Brent put the pewter and red on. He literally locked down one side of the field. You can crap on him for this past season and his comments, but to play… Read more »

EastEndBoy
1 year ago

Kareem Hunt – all I’ll say about your analysis is that you should not compare violence against anyone to smoking marijuana. One is, always has been and always will be both illegal and unacceptable in every corner of society….the other is now legal (to varying extents) in 33 States plus DC. On the projected DLine…that’s roughly $15 million of cap space used for back-up linemen. Yes, backups are necessary – but $15m is a lot for a team that will be seeking some cap space. Finally, I couldn’t agree more with your comments of good riddance to Jackson and Grimes… Read more »

Devasher
1 year ago

Kareem Hunt is an incredible talent at the RB position, and as much as anyone here can see that, so could the Chiefs who of all teams were in the midst of a playoff and potential Super Bowl run when they cut him for repeatedly punching and attacking people. To have a player of Hunt’s ability at RB would be incredible for this team and chance how the offense is played and how opposing defenses scheme against the Bucs. But the team still must do their diligence on Hunt and his character before they signed him. It wasn’t a good… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB
1 year ago

THE excuse Giants have for trading JPP was he does not work in 3 -4 defence Now Bucs have 3-4 where does that leave J P P ?

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GrayBalls
1 year ago
Reply to  BUC-ASS-BOB

Bob, shut up already, man. Maybe read what Bowles and Arians are saying. Wait…… I realize now that I have contradicted myself. I told you to shut up AND to read. My bad, dude. Go on your little rants, I’m sure someone will be along shortly to put the straw in your Capri Sun and adjust your helmet for you. Oh, word of advice for everyone out there, DO NOT smell FUC-ASS-BOB’s finger

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Buc stops here
1 year ago

This is interesting – a poll was taken of NFL players of the most overrrated NFL QB. Number 1 was Kurt Cousins. He was followed by (in order): Eli Manning was the second-most overrated, while Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Sam Bradford had multiple votes as well.

So Winston was 10th most overrated with Sam Bradford #11. They were all the QBs mentioned. Just interesting.

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Devasher
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

Eli Manning will go into the Hall of Fame purely due to his 2 Super Bowl runs. While you have to respect the two championships against the Patriots, Eli has been anywhere from average to below average for his entire career. I generally agree with most of the players listed as overrated except for Brady and to a lesser extent Ryan. Flacco had the one super bowl, Stafford has been on losing teams for most of his career and padded his stats, Carr peaked early and has come back to earth, Dalton is Dalton, Prescott gets a ton of help… Read more »

Lamb Chop
1 year ago
Reply to  Buc stops here

Tom Brady overrated? I find that a bit hard to swallow unless people think he’s a product of the system. But still, you can have a system, but if you can’t deliver then you can sink that system in a heart beat. I’m a huge Joe Montana fan, but with the number of trips to the SB that Tom has had, Tom will always be in the discussion of greatest QB to play the game for a very long time. He just needs to retire before he tarnishes his image. Learn from Brett Favre. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00… Read more »

76Buc
1 year ago
Reply to  Lamb Chop

Yep, ever good QB is a product of his system.

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damian_thompson
1 year ago

I had a similar thought about Hunt & Arians but was reminded by someone that Mrs. Arians is VERY involved in charities focused on abuse and violence towards women & children. Would highly doubt signing Kareem would get her approval.

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surferdudes
1 year ago

I’m all for giving Hunt a second chance in Tampa. Where I would disagree is just signing him to a one year deal. He’ll be suspended maybe for half that time, so a cheap three year deal with no guaranteed money, and a clause where we can cut him if he gets in trouble again. Scott I have to disagree with you on our defensive personal fitting a 3- 4. I think David can play in it, but he’s at the end of his career, and has a high cap value. He also seems to get nicked up, and miss… Read more »

GrayBalls
1 year ago
Reply to  surferdudes

“He only had one decent rookie year”…… One rookie year? What happened to his second rookie year?

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surferdudes
1 year ago

Defensive options: Henry Anderson RDE age 28 Jets, Sheldon Richardson RDT age 28 Jets, Deone Bucannon ILB age 27 AZ, Avery Williamson ILB age 26 Jets, Neville Hewitt ILB age 25 Jets, Jeremiah Atlaochu OLB age 28 Jets, Markus Golden OLB age 28 AZ, Brandon Copeland OLB 27 Jets, Morris Claiborne CB age 27 Jets, Buster Skrine CB age 30 Jets. I know Buc fans fall in love with their own, I don’t always get it, but you do. Expect some of these players to be suiting up for the Bucs this year, and expect some of your old lovers… Read more »

76Buc
1 year ago
Reply to  surferdudes

R u n buc-ass related?

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EricNV
1 year ago
Reply to  surferdudes

G McCoy is probably gone due to cap considerations. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Curry was gone. If we can get to at least $70 million under the cap, I can see a few of those players you listed being signed. A lot is going to depend upon how Hargreaves and Alexander bounce back from their season-ending injuries. I think Hargreaves showed vast improvement in the opener against NO in September, and I would expect that improvement to carry over given complete recovery. Alexander’s as tough as they come, so I’m expecting him, God-willing, to be out there in… Read more »

matador
1 year ago
Reply to  EricNV

GMC has only experienced losing. I’d offer him a two year deal that would pay as much in total as his deal for next year, with the carrot being a chance to play in the playoffs.

We don’t have a ton of experienced professionals on the roster. Those are needed as example setters in the Arians Era Of Accountability. Let GMC decide, if he wants to go elsewhere so be it.

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BucWild02
1 year ago

Fab 1/5: Kareem Hunt is a solid RB who deserves a second chance, but I’m not sure a party city like Tampa is a good fit. I won’t argue his production or counter system vs player by extrapolating D. Williams production in KC in Hunt/Ware’s absence. His family concerns documented above by “Buc Stops Here” are also eye opening. Fab 2: Defense is transitioning to a 3-4? But is it? It seems clear that they’re gonna be in nickle 70% of the time. That wasn’t the only commitment by BA. He said they will attack to the players strengths. Balt… Read more »

drdneast
1 year ago

So whar you are saying BucStopsHere is criminality is inherited and passed along in your genes and DNA just like diabetes or ALS. Scientists, all over the world. are laughing hysterically at you along with me. Look up and see what one of the biggest criminals in the history of the United States history, Jessie James’ son became when he grew up. You undoubtedly took a science class with Donnie Trump. Not only is your line of thinking moronic, it is also unAmerican. In this country, sir, you are born with a clean slate and you aren’t judged by your… Read more »

76Buc
1 year ago
Reply to  drdneast

Not DNA; environmental. PC bs.

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chetthevette
1 year ago
Reply to  drdneast

Drdneast. It’s tough being a lefty liberal these days. I’m with you all the way with your prognosis about how we are born fresh as babes in the woods. Unfortunately that is where your statement falters. Of course it matters who your parents are. Try getting a fair shake being born with dark skin. It’s a crapshoot just to get by let alone thrive. Take it from me, and I’m the whitest guy you will ever meet, I get sun burned shopping at Wal-mart. I wish Kareem all the best, but he’ll be better off somewhere other than Tampa. Just… Read more »

chefboho
1 year ago

So much to like about all this. Hopefully it’s more than hearsay this time. My favorites are the two practice fields for vets and rookies. I’ve also complained so many times with former regimes because they take players who are gifted at a position and then move them somewhere else. It’s drove me crazy for years stunting growth I believe. Especially when a clown like Warhop is supposedly training your rookies in new positions they never played in college. I’m extremely excited for the upcoming year. On the Kareem hunt topic, this one is a tough call for me so… Read more »

EricNV
1 year ago
Reply to  chefboho

If Hunt keeps his nose clean in Tampa, all will be forgiven. He’s too talented a RB to not seriously consider adding to this roster.

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JJ
JJ
1 year ago

Good riddens LOUDMOUTH Miko and you’re dumbass husband, who made a fool of himself his last days here and no doubt because of you.

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76Buc
1 year ago
Reply to  JJ

I wonder how long she’ll hang with without the $millions coming in?

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EricNV
1 year ago

“Arians demands that players play hard every down and plans on holding them accountable. ”

You hear that Donovan Smith? You’re going to play hard EVERY down or face the music.

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drdneast
1 year ago

76Buc, than you and I agree. Criminality has nothing to do with your heredity but as you said, is much more environmental. If you grow up and around criminals, it is much more likely you will be a criminal. If you look at what Hunt obviously grew up around, it speaks volumes about his character that he didn’t follow the same path. I also agree with you about Miko. As soon as the money stops rolling in, Miko will roll out of her marriage with Grimes. She has all the characteristics of a credit card diva. I loved the video… Read more »

plopes808
1 year ago

Finally got to watch the Arians presser and I’m even more excited now! I haven’t been this excited since we signed DJax…hopefully this will yield better results and I think it will. Change has to come from the top and from what I’m seeing and Arians is saying, it’s coming! The Hunt issue is a sensitive one but I could get onboard with a low-risk prove it deal. We all know his stock is as low as it will probably get at the moment so if we strike, we should strike now. This will save another draft pick and give… Read more »

SaskBucs
1 year ago

I was more on board with bringing in Hunt before I watched his ESPN interview. I assume the one linked is from over a month ago, the first (maybe only) one he did. I really didnt think it helped him out. It seemed as though his agents gave him 4 things to say and he stuck to the script. It didn’t seem genuine or particularly honest. He is already fired at that point, why not speak honestly about that night and apologize. “It was late, I had been drinking which was stupid to begin with and this girl got my… Read more »

matador
1 year ago

Buc stops here post is the type of article SR should have written. Talk about tone deaf.

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