Tonight’s game crucial for Hardy (Football)

September 1, 2011

Daniel Hardy

Even though he has a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, nothing is guaranteed for rookie tight end Daniel Hardy of Anchorage.

He still has to make the NFL team’s 53-man roster.

The 6-foot-4, 249-pound seventh-round draft pick has looked good during his first preseason game, but he finds himself still fighting for the final tight end spot going into tonight’s preseason finale against the Washington Redskins.

“It all comes down to this for me,” Hardy told reporters. “You don’t want to put more pressure on yourself but you do realize what’s at stake and how hard you’ve worked for this, so you really want to make sure you leave everything on the field.

“Either way, I just want to be able to look back on this and be proud of what I’ve done.”

Hardy, of West High fame, is battling Ryan Purvis and Nathan Overbay for the last spot behind starter Kellen Winslow and fourth-round pick Luke Stocker.

The 23-year-old out of the University of Idaho has tradition on his side, according to Stephen F. Holder of the St. Petersburg Times:

The Bucs’ recent history suggests Hardy is well-positioned because he was drafted. The Bucs often opt to keep their draft picks in position battles that are close. The Bucs like Hardy’s athleticism, which he has begun to showcase in the past couple of weeks.

But this is no slam dunk, making tonight’s game, in which reserves will play extensively, a prime opportunity.