Bucs rookie Hargreaves on INTs: 'Everything's about the ball'
Former Wharton and Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, the Bucs' first-round pick in April, made his first big splash in Saturday's preseason win against the Jaguars, getting two of Tampa Bay's four interceptions in a 27-21 win.
"The game's about the ball. That's the money," Hargreaves said in the locker room after the win. "Everything's about the ball. So I try to find a way to stay close to it and get my hands on it."
Late in the first half with the score tied and 19 seconds remaining, Hargreaves made a high leaping interception of a Chad Henne pass, picking it up near midfield and returning it to the Jaguars' 19, with a facemask penalty taking the ball to the 9-yard line. That set up a Roberto Aguayo field goal for a 17-14 lead at halftime. Then on the first drive of the second half, Hargreaves did it again, leaping and intercepting a deep ball from Henne for a second pick just 1:15 into the half.
"I'm just trying to make a play -- that's all it was," Hargreaves said. "Sticking to my keys, reading the quarterback and at the end of the day, you have to make a play."
Four of the Bucs' five interceptions in preseason have come from rookies -- safeties Ryan Smith and Isaiah Johnson also have picked off passes, as has veteran Johnthan Banks.
Hargreaves got to swap jerseys after the game with another former Gators standout from the Tampa area in Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler, and he'll be on the same field Friday night as another top Florida cornerback in the Browns' Joe Haden.