Verner hopes to return to Bucs, knows 'it's a business'
Alterraun Verner, one of the biggest remaining parts of Lovie Smith's original free-agent class of 2014, said Monday he hopes to return to Tampa Bay this fall but understands if that's not the case.
Verner, due to make $6.75-million in 2016, was a starting cornerback in 2014 but lost that job early this season, relegated to working as the team's nickel cornerback in the second half of the season.
"Hopefully I am back. We're building something special here," said Verner, who had 56 tackles and one interception this year, down from 76 and two the year before. "Hopefully I am part of that, but we all know that it's a business, and there's going to be no hard feelings if at the end of the day, they want to fit the roster as best they can to try to compete and get to a Super Bowl."
Verner said he understands he was brought in to play a larger role than the one he played this season, but
"Sometimes it's hard to explain how you didn't grasp what was really going on, how you didn't handle the cards that were dealt to you," Verner said. "What was happening, obviously it's a lot of disappointment. You come in here to be a guy to really help change a lot. Statistically I might not have done that, but I feel like I've done it in other ways to help out other guys. You want the production on the field to match. It's definitely disappointing in my regard. I look at myself as one of the guys that needs to be that type of guy. I'm not putting any blame or any excuses on anything other than myself.
"I came in and worked hard and the result didn't happen. I blame myself but I don't regret what happened. I worked as hard as I can, and things didn't work out. It's a life lesson learned, but it's not going to have me down or out or anything. It's something you build off of."