NFL

Bucs waive Hargreaves two days after benching him for lack of 'hustle'

The Bucs have ended the tenure of Vernon Hargreaves with the team after three-and-a-half years, having drafted him just outside the top 10.

Vernon Hargreaves has been waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two days after he was benched by head coach Bruce Arians for a "lack of hustle".

Drafted number 11 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, the cornerback's tenure with the Bucs officially came to an end on Tuesday after playing in 35 games over three-and-a-half seasons.

Hargreaves was benched in the third quarter of the team's 30-27 home win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, which moved them to 3-6 in what has been a disappointing season.

Arians explained Hargreaves "didn't look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle" and the 24-year-old, who returned to the game late on, did not question the decision when speaking afterwards.

"After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, coach [Bruce] Arians and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said after the team confirmed the move.

"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. 

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

Prior to the season, he had been held out of the first OTAs by Arians, who did not believe he was ready to practice, though he did go on to start all nine of the Bucs' games so far.

The Bucs had picked up the $9million fifth-year option on Hargreaves' contract for 2020, but that was only guaranteed for injury.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Cincinnati Bengals waived veteran linebacker Preston Brown.

Brown, 27, had played in all nine games for the winless Bengals in 2019 and signed a new three-year contract before the season.

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