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Tampa Bay’s Vernon Hargreaves has his first workout for Bucs

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New Tampa Bay Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III has just signed a new contract for $14.2 million over four years.

Why, then, is he spending all of his time worried about the nickel?

Hargreaves may start as the Bucs’ slot cornerback in the nickel formation when the Bucs start to play in the fall. He spent much of his first day of the team’s rookie mini-camp lining up there.

Why?

“Well, his quickness and how good of a tackler he is,” Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter said. “We’re going to start him off both inside and outside. We’re – both with the vets and the rooks – trying to find that perfect nickel and he’s one of the guys we’re looking at for sure.”

Hargreaves said playing the nickel sounded good to him.

“I’m excited for that,” Hargreaves said. “I want to play wherever I can play, wherever I fit in. It’s perfect for me.

“Just getting in the playbook – it’s a big adjustment for everybody. We’ve got to get in the playbook, got to learn. It’s the first day, coaches are hard on you on purpose just to see how you react, so you have to go home, study tonight, get in that playbook and come out for a better day tomorrow.”

Hargreaves said he was glad to be back on a field and not running for a stopwatch.

“I mean, it’s awesome – it’s awesome,” Hargreaves said. “Finally getting to play some real football; no more of that combine stuff. Finally getting to get out here and cover some people and make some plays.

“Playing college football and then coming here and going through a practice, you can see a difference. I don’t necessarily know how to put it into words, but the speed is different – it’s a little bit faster, a little bit more complex. It takes a little bit of time to get used to, but everybody will be all right.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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