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News Article | Apr 12, 2013 | by Eric Wright

Returning to Tampa



No baby yet in the Wright household, but we did receive some other great news this week: I will be remaining in Tampa Bay next season with the Bucs.

I'm excited that everything is signed and sealed, and it's final. I know where I'm going to be next year, right where I wanted to be. I made it my stance from the beginning that I wanted to remain in Tampa, and maintained that through everything, so I'm glad to still be a Buccaneer.

I'm happy that the restructuring was done. From the end of the season throughout this whole time, we tried to restructure, we looked into settlements and both sides worked diligently in trying to resolve the issue as fast as possible. Neither side wanted to go to arbitration. It was all a part of the process. That's just how the business works and how it goes.

By no means was I trying to hurt anybody. I had a stance, the team had a stance, and the business took over from there. 

But coming out of it, even losing in arbitration, I never wavered from my position on wanting to remain in Tampa. That was what I always wanted. When all was said and done, we did a contract in which I took a pay cut that allowed me to stay in Tampa.

I'm thankful and grateful to the Glazer Family, to Mark Dominik and Coach Greg Schiano for allowing me the opportunity to remain on the team and continue to play for this organization.

While we were restructuring, I got a chance to talk to Coach Schiano and Mark Dominik, and I frankly asked if a restructure would mean me possibly getting traded. They told me that would not happen. They told me that they wanted me. Telling me they want me to be there and they're not thinking about trading me, that meant a lot to me. They opened the door for the restructure to happen, so I obviously was ready to take the pay cut to stay and prove myself.

I'm thankful and grateful to the Glazer Family, to Mark Dominik and Coach Greg Schiano.

I'm glad that we are where we are now. Everything is settled, and everybody is on the same page and looking forward to this next season. The business side of it is done now, so it's all about football. It's all about playing. It's all about winning.

As far as that goes, we have a great young team. We're finally putting things together to show the rest of the league that we're contenders. I think there's the potential for us to take a big step this year. We're coming back with the same core guys, and we all know what to expect and what coach expects out of us now. I think everybody is eager to get back into it, get into mini-camp, training camp and offseason workouts, and work toward a common goal.

We have the coaching that's going to take us to where we're looking to go. In that regard, it's important to know what the expectation is as far as the type of work we're going to put in, goals that we have. There aren't many question marks in the second season under a coach.

We just need to stay consistent and take things one game at a time. It's easy to focus on the end result, which could be a Super Bowl championship or just playing in the playoffs. But we just have to approach it slowly and put our all into every single game. Everything else falls in line from there.

SOMETHING TO PROVE

I'm my own harshest critic, so going into next season I don't feel the need to prove anything to anybody other than myself. I understand the position that I put myself in. I understand the season that I had. But I'm just prepared and excited to get back on that field and be that player that I know I can be, and help this team to go where we're looking to go.

I have the potential be to be one of the best corners in this game, and I'm prepared to work to show that.

It really hurt me last year that I got into a position injury-wise that I couldn't even play. I'm the type of guy that, if I can work with it, I'm going to find a way to be out there. I'm professional enough to work with it and adjust my game with whatever injury I'm dealing with. So it hurt me to let down the team by not being out there. That's just not what I do. Whatever nicks and bruises, I play. That's just who I am.

I understand the position that I put myself in. I understand the season that I had. But I'm just prepared and excited to get back on that field and be that player that I know I can be.

I take pride in my durability because everybody in this league deals with injuries, and when Sunday rolls around, it's rare that you're 100 percent. That's the nature of the game. But I take pride in the fact that I've played with severely sprained ankles. I've played with strained hamstrings. I've played with injuries and played well. I pride myself on being on that field for my team, and trying to help my team win as much as possible. 

I've played in 86 games over my six seasons in the league and started in 82 of them. In Cleveland, in my first three years in the league, I basically played in every single game and in my fourth season, I missed a handful of games. In Detroit, I played 17 straight games. I have a track record of being a very durable and reliable player, a guy who is actually going to be out there.

Last year, I just happened to pick up a number of different, nagging injuries and I fought through it, but I just couldn't completely shake it. So I had to play throughout the season hurt and nicked up. That's common from player to player. Nobody is out there at 100 percent all the time. But I was dealing with some more major issues.

So for me, coming into this year, I'm just making sure I'm doing my due diligence as a pro this offseason, taking care of my body and training, rehabbing. That's not to say that I didn't do that last year. I did do that last year. Unfortunately in the game, certain things happen. All I can do are the proper things to put my body in the best physical condition it can be in to withstand a full NFL season.

I'm trying to focus on some of the things that are a little more avoidable. It's about just making sure my body is healthy. This is the offseason. It's a time to address some of the things you dealt with over the past season and if you address them properly, you can build yourself back up through strength and conditioning and that's what I'm doing.

I have a standard that I hold myself to do. I have personal goals that I have yet to attain. I have that ambition to once again be the player that I need to be for my team. That's really important to me.

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