Once upon a time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a dominant, young edge rusher. Someone who could play all over the defensive line and get to the quarterback consistently. But when they got an opportunity to re-sign that player after he put up nine sacks in one seasons, they instead decided that giving perpetual disappointment Da'Quan Bowers more playing time was a priority. So they let Michael Bennett walk.
That decision was probably the beginning of the end for the Greg Schiano regime, but there's a hint that it really wasn't the Bucs' lack of interest in re-signing him that was at issue here. Bennett didn't sound too happy about his time under Schiano in a recent interview with 750 The Game in Portland, via the News Tribune.
"You seem like a guy who couldn't play for a stiff," Canzano replied.
"I did that before. It wasn't fun," Bennett said of his playing days in Tampa Bay. "His name is Greg Schiano.
"I think you lose guys like that. Guys are their own men. To a coach (like that), his whole life is football ... A player, he tries to distance himself from football (in his off time), you know?
Maybe if Greg Schiano wasn't such a stiff, the Bucs could have lured Bennett back to Tampa. Or perhaps if they simply threw more money at him -- he certainly sounds like he would've been amenable to staying anywhere for more cash, as most players are.
But Bennett had a few more bad things to say about his time in Tampa, none of them complimentary.
"Yeah, it's different. In Seattle, the stadium's always packed. It's like playing in the Olympics," he said.
Bennett also said the Buccaneers believe in building a team through trades over developing young players.
"In Seattle, it's just the opposite," he said. "If Tampa did that, they'd have more success."
I'm not sure that's actually an accurate assessment. After all, the Bucs let Bennett walk in part to give Da'Quan Bowers, then a third-year player, more playing time. And while they certainly have traded for a few players in the past, it's not like the Seahawks have shied away from that -- they did acquire both Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham, after all.
I can't fault Bennett's stadium observations, though. That's what happens when your team's been terrible for well over a decade. There have been recent signs of a resurgence in popularity, though. And the drafting of a new quarterback certainly helps in that department -- there's more excitement now than I can recall in recent years.
Still, there's only one thing that'll bring people back to Raymond James Stadium: wins.