TAMPA — After much internal debate, the Bucs on Monday opted to decline an invitation to appear on the popular HBO reality series Hard Knocks.
The show, which has run since 2001, gives viewers an all-access pass to NFL training camp, featuring the many story lines — from contract holdouts to players' personal issues — in great detail. NFL Films, which helps produce the show, looks for engaging personalities and intriguing stories to portray. The Bucs, behind effervescent coach Raheem Morris and emerging young quarterback Josh Freeman, seem to have both.
In announcing the decision, the Bucs said in a statement they want to "keep the focus on the field and what we hope to accomplish in 2011."
That is, perhaps, a suggestion the show could be a distraction. Another concern for the Bucs: growing off-the-field issues, including several recent arrests.
Those issues are highlighted by the pending investigation of cornerback Aqib Talib on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, relating to a shooting incident in Dallas and a case that could be playing out right about the time the show gets under way in August.
The Bucs told the NFL they would consider doing the show at another time if approached again.