Hardy training, hanging, waiting (Football)

June 6, 2011

Daniel Hardy

If this was any other year chances are Daniel Hardy of Anchorage would be attending his first NFL minicamp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a newly drafted rookie.

But instead he’s still here because of the lockout.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound tight end out of the University of Idaho is prevented from communicating with coaches, although the last time he spoke to them on draft day they had one message: Be ready.

“I’m taking measures to do everything I need to be in the best shape possible,” he told me. “I’ve been kicking my training into high gear, even though I’m not able to benefit from learning the system, the playbook and getting acclimated with my new surroundings and the players.”

On the plus side, Hardy gets to spend more time with his family and friends.

“I love that home cooking,” he said with a laugh. “I’m trying to find the positives out of it.”

Hardy, of West High fame, was drafted in the seventh round by the Buccaneers after a stellar college career in which he became one the country’s top tight ends despite playing in a non-BCS league.

But now he’s in a holding pattern, waiting for the lockout to lift.

Members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly conducted player workouts organized by quarterback Josh Freeman in Florida, but even then Hardy isn’t sure he would participate because an injury at an unofficial practice could jeopardize a contract.

“That would put you behind the 8-ball,” he said.

Even still, Hardy tried to contact Freeman online but had no luck.

“There are so many fake accounts I don’t even know if it was him or not, so it’s kind of hard to introduce yourself,” he said.

So Hardy will wait to hear back – from the team, from Freeman, from somebody.

“When everybody gets a chance to meet up I think it’ll be a collective sigh of relief,” he said. “I think guys will be happy to be back.”