Hardy arrives in Tampa, Fla. (Football)

July 19, 2011

Daniel Hardy

Tired of waiting around for the start of his NFL career to begin, Daniel Hardy of Anchorage took matters into his own hands.

He bought a one-way ticket to Tampa Bay.

Hardy was a seventh-round draft pick by the Bucs in April but he’s been unable to communicate with the team because of the NFL Lockout. However, the fourth-month lockout appears to be nearing an end and he wants to be in town when it does.

“I know it’s getting closer,” Hardy told me. “I wanted to make an effort to meet my teammates, try to find a playbook and get used to the surroundings.”

The 6-foot-4 tight end out of the University of Idaho has been in town for only a week and the weather is already a factor.

“This humidity is no joke,” he said.

Hardy, of West High fame, is working out on his own in preparation for training camp. If the lockout doesn’t end soon, though, Hardy said Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman told him he plans to organize player workouts in its place.

Either way, Hardy is eager to get to work.

“I’m excited,” he said.

The same could be said about him clicking with high-profile teammates like Freeman and tight end Kellen Winslow right off the bat as if they had been buddies for years.

“They are super cool,” Hardy said. “I’m learning everything I can from them.”

One thing he picked up quickly: Josh is the man.

It wasn’t what the young QB said as much as how he acted.

“You just get that sense that he’s a leader,” Hardy said. “People rally around him.”