Bucs free themselves of former No. 1 Hargreaves

by Gary Shelton on November 13, 2019

in general

Hargreaves was a Huge disappointment./STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 4 p.m.

The halls are dark and narrow. There is broken glass on the floor, bugs on the window.

Something smells foul. Around here, something always smells foul.

It is dismal here, dank. Gloomy. There is so much waste, so much emptiness.

Welcome, Vernon.

You are now in the Tampa Bay Bucs' Hall of Shame.

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This is where potential goes to die, where hope fades and promises are broken. This is where those athletes, filled with so much potential, wind up. It is the boneyard of NFL careers, a dumping ground for athletes who will forever be thought of as blown opportunities.

Move over, guys. Vernon Hargreaves III is now in the house.

Hargreaves earned his spot Tuesday when the Tampa Bay Bucs officially gave up on him. It is bad enough that an athlete would be dumped by a secondary so confused, but to do so after a victory, when you were a No. 11 overall draft pick, is particularly shameful.

And this team knows shame.

This is the team of Vinny Testaverde, of Josh Freeman, of Trent Dilfer. This is the team of Bo Jackson and Da'Quan Bowers, the team of Noah Spence and Mark Barron.The team of Sabby Piscitelli and Kenyatta Walker.

And here's the thing. None of them made this franchise's bottom 10.

Of course, you can measure a bust in various ways. Usually, it means a player didn't come close to living up his draft status. But most of the players listed above had enough success to promote themselves to bad players, but not quite busts. Dilfer made a Pro Bowl and, after he left, won a Super Bowl. Testaverde lasted for 20 years in the league and made the AFC title game. Bowers and Spence won't drafted highly enough to make the cut. Barron has played okay for the Rams. Jackson had success with the Raiders; the fault of his selection was that of the Bucs, not Jackson. Walker started in a Super Bowl.

This is the team of Alvin Harper, and of Anthony Collins, and of Michael Johnson. But they didn't make it either. They were free agent busts, not draft busts.

As Hargreaves walks away, this is his legacy. He never made a lot of plays -- he intercepted only two passes in 35 games and had just 19 passes defensed. He'll be remembered a long time, but not very fondly.

So who does make this list?

An unmatchable top 10:

  1. Booker Reese, DE, Bethune Cookman. Reese was a second-round draft pick in 1982, a player who collected just two sacks in his NFL career despite the fact the Bucs thought they had, according to an assistant coach, "our next LeeRoy Selmon." Circumstances made the pick even more questionable. The Bucs' first-round pick was missed due to a communications error, and the team immediately traded its No. 1 pick the following year to get Reese. Even worse, the team had just lost quarterback Doug Williams. Had they kept their pick, they could have taken Dan Marino in the next draft.

2 Charles McRae, OL, Tennessee. McCrae was the seventh overall pick in 1991. Trouble was, he didn't appear to like playing football. He was gone soon after his love of the game was.

3. Eric Curry, DL, Alabama: Curry was the sixth overall pick in 1993 who never became the quarterback-hunter the team envisioned. He had 12 sacks for the Bucs.

4. Roberto Aguayo, K, FSU. Even the Bucs got tired of watching Aguayo miss in his only season with the team. The Bucs traded up to draft Aguayo in the second round, but he fizzled.

5. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson. Adams was the fourth overall pick by the Bucs in 2007, but he barely made a dent. He had 13 1/2 sacks in three years before being cut.

6. Keith McCants, LB-DE, Alabama. McCants was a fine college player, a roving linebacker who made most of the tackles for a good Tide team. But he never had a position in the pros. He lasted only three years with the Bucs and had 13 sacks.

7. Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian State. Even Jackson was surprised the Bucs picked him in the second round of the 2008 draft. The Bucs needed wide receivers, however. Jackson never caught a pass for the Bucs in his single season. Not one.

8. Brett Moritz, OL, Nebraska. The Bucs desperately needed offensive linemen in the 1978 draft, but they whiffed on Moritz, who never started a game.

9. Vernon Hargreaves, DB, Florida. Hargreaves might have made this list anyway. Opposing quarterbacks certainly knew where he was. But being benched for a lack of hustle is the ultimate sin.

10. Rod "Toast" Jones, DB, SMU. Jones had four interceptions in four years as he worked hard for his nickname.

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