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Buccaneers release former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves after benching

By
Connor Grott
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (28) started the first nine games of the season but was benched Sunday for what head coach Bruce Arians called a lack of hustle. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (28) started the first nine games of the season but was benched Sunday for what head coach Bruce Arians called a lack of hustle. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released starting cornerback Vernon Hargreaves after he was benched in Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, the team announced Tuesday.

"After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, [head coach] Bruce [Arians] and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "Decisions such as this are always difficult, but I felt it was in the best interest of our team to part ways with Vernon at this time and allow him to explore other opportunities.

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"We are disappointed that it did not work out here for Vernon and we wish him continued success moving forward."

Hargreaves, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, was the most experienced cornerback on the Buccaneers' roster. He started the first nine games of this season before being benched against the Cardinals for what Arians called a lack of hustle.

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Arians took issue with Hargreaves' effort after he allowed a 55-yard catch to Arizona wideout Andy Isabella at the start of the third quarter. He was pulled from the contest but returned after cornerback M.J. Stewart's injury.

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"He didn't look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle," Arians told reporters. "He was chasing somebody across the field, and he wasn't running fast enough."

In nine games this season, Hargreaves has recorded 40 total tackles, one interception, four passes defensed, one fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown. Since entering the league, he has 165 combined tackles, two picks and 19 pass breakups in 35 career games.

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After waiving Hargreaves, the Bucs currently have five cornerbacks on the active roster in Ryan Smith, Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Stewart.

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