The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a habit of letting good players go, only to see them wind up in the Super Bowl. In recent years, that’s happened most notably with Aqib Talib and Michael Bennett, though others have managed the same thing.
This year is no different. Four notable Buccaneers will be in Super Bowl XLI, or at least their teams will be. Whether they’ll actually appear in the game remains to be seen.
K Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
The Bucs let their long-time kicker go way back in 2009, only to churn through numerous kickers over the next near-decade. Connor Barth held the fort for a bit, but a major injury ended his time with the Bucs. Not even last year’s second-round pick can hold a candle to Bryant’s consistency of yore.
And also, his consistency of today. Bryant remains one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL, and has been with the Falcons since he was released by the Bucs. And now he gets to try to win a Super Bowl. Good for him, bad for Tampa Bay.
RB Legarrette Blount, New England Patriots
Hey, remember when Blount, Mike Williams and Josh Freeman looked like the future of the Bucs offense? Those were some good times, back in 2010. That never happened, in part because Doug Martin dethroned Blount, and the latter has never been a do-it-all back. But Blount has carved out a nice role for himself as a part-time back with the Patriots, and it’s gotten him a whole lot of wins. Plus some money. Why he couldn’t have done with the Bucs remains a mystery.
Wide receivers coach Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons
And when Blount was with the Bucs, Morris was his head coach. In 2010 and 2011, at least. That worked well in 2010, and not at all in 2011 when the Bucs came unglued and lost a ridiculous 10 straight games, ending Morris’ career as Tampa Bay’s head coach.
Since then he’s spent time with Washington and the Falcons, and switched sides to become a receivers coach this season. Apparently that’s worked well, and I’m sure the extra money that came with the Assistant Head Coach title doesn’t help. And now he could win a Super Bowl. I bet we see him being the head coach of another team pretty soon.
DE Adrian Clayborn, Atlanta Falcons
Okay okay, Clayborn won’t actually suit up: he’s on injured reserve. But he has played an important role for the Falcons for two years, primarily as a sub-package defensive tackle. The Bucs tried to make him an edge rusher and that failed, but he’s now a useful player for a Super Bowl team. Well, when he isn’t benched, that is.