FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• One last thing about former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. The Bucs loved Hunt when he was a draft prospect at Toledo. Tampa Bay scouts met with him at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine and had Hunt in for a pre-draft visit. The Bucs’ brass agonized over whether to choose Hunt or wide receiver Chris Godwin in the third round as the team had second-round grades on both players.
Tampa Bay ultimately went with Godwin, in part because the Bucs still had running back Doug Martin under contract. Although Godwin has been quite productive and will have a great career here as he continues to develop, the Bucs had to watch Hunt explode onto the NFL season as a rookie where he rushed for 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns, while catching 53 passes for 455 yards and three more scores. That earned him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, as well as a Pro Bowl berth.
To be able to land Godwin in the draft and Hunt in free agency after his release from Kansas City would be a coup for Tampa Bay’s offense. Hunt, who was released after assaulting a woman in Cleveland last year and then lying to the Chiefs about it, is paying dearly for his mistake. Not only did he lose his job, he’ll lose the chance for endorsement deals and lose any endorsements he might have had from his breakout rookie year. Hunt will face an NFL suspension that will likely be at least six games.
Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games by the league over allegations of domestic violence even though there was no video evidence, no criminal charges and no civil suit.
As a third-round draft pick, Hunt’s base salary this season was $575,250, and he’s made under $2 million in his NFL career thus far, as his signing bonus was $775,952. Knowing that Hunt’s income puts him in one of the highest tax bracket, Uncle Sam has taken about half of his money, so he’s made less than $1 million since entering the league in 2017.
Hunt’s looming suspension will prevent him from making money as an NFL player anytime soon because players aren’t paid during suspensions, and the guess here is that he could face a civil lawsuit from the 19-year old woman that will continue to punish him financially.
Yes, Hunt will continue to face consequences over his actions, and deservedly so.
But what about Hunt’s forgiveness? Where will that occur?
For Elliott, that happened in Dallas as the organization stuck with him.
For a player like former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, who was jailed on federal charges of dog fighting, that happened in Philadelphia where he was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year as a Pro Bowl quarterback two years after being released by the Falcons.
At age 23, Hunt is young and talented enough to have a similar successful NFL comeback somewhere.
• One of the most fascinating assistant coaching hires by head coach Bruce Arians is offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who coached quarterbacks in Arizona under Arians in 2017 and stayed on with Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks in the same capacity last year. Leftwich, who was a quarterback under Arians in Pittsburgh, has a bright mind and was promoted to the offensive coordinator role midseason when Mike McCoy was relieved of those duties in Arizona last year.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Leftwich’s interest in coaching and how Arians helped cultivate that.
Sunday, Byron Leftwich will be coaching against the team that drafted him.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) November 25, 2017
• BUCCO BRUCE is here! That’s what we decided to call Episode 102 of the Pewter Nation Podcast, which was taped on Wednesday. Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and yours truly analyzes the Bucs’ hiring of new head coach Bruce Arians and his staff, including new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. This is a MUST-LISTEN podcast. Click here to hear Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 102: Bucco Bruce.
If you didn’t listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 101: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, you really missed out! It starts off with prank on Sikkema where Cook almost gets fired before going hardcore into the firing of head coach Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht’s future with the Buccaneers. Lots of great Bucs discussion in this one, which has become one of the most listened-to Pewter Nation Podcasts of all time. Be sure to listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 101: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes by clicking here.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast than on your drive home from work on Friday or running around doing errands or at the gym on Saturday. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped Friday afternoon following the Bowles press conference, so make sure you listen to Episodes 101, 102 and the new episode – 103 – this weekend.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
And if you want to watch the opening of the Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 101: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes that features the prank – and a great cameo by The Athletic’s Greg Auman – view it below.
• I just put up some breaking news before publishing this SR’s Fab 5, writing how the Bucs added Todd McNair as the running backs coach and how Tampa Bay is also pursuing cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross. Click here to read that story.
• Our @PewterReport Twitter account just surpassed 31,000 followers! Thank you! If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here. To follow us on Facebook please click here. And to follow @PewterReport on Instagram and you can do so by clicking here.
• New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians will have a profound impact on quarterback Jameis Winston, who is entering his fifth-year option season with the team. It’s interesting to note that it was Arians who put Winston on Licht’s radar back in 2013 when the two were together in Arizona and Winston was winning a Heisman Trophy and a national championship at Florida State as a redshirt freshman. Yes, Licht began scouting Winston at Arians’ behest back in Arizona two years before he made the Seminoles star the Bucs’ first-round pick in 2015.
“His passion is working with young quarterbacks – not just as players, but as people,” Licht said about Arians. “He’s always been a huge fan of Jameis even when I was at Arizona with him and he was at Florida State. He would talk about Jameis Winston a lot. His passion for Jameis and his feeling for Jameis is for real.”
Arians said he won’t coach Winston to play scared.
“No risk-it, no biscuit – it’s being smart, not scared,” Arians said. “Play smart, don’t play scared. one [interception], you’re not going to win throwing three. We’ve got to protect the football. I think Byron Leftwich and Clyde Christensen are going to do a great job with him fundamentally and mentally. He’s going to be extremely well coached. I don’t ever want him to throw a football worrying about it getting intercepted.”
• And finally, this from Bucs general manager Jason Licht about new head coach Bruce Arians: “Bruce lives by “no risk-it, no biscuit” – take some chances. I think we’re going to get a biscuit.”
I think Licht is right.