TAMPA BAY – The first round of the NFL Draft can be one of the most exciting times for the players involved. However, it can also be the most stressful time of their collective lives.

It’s no surprise that players use the latter scenario as motivation moving forward. Football players always find reasons to have a chip on their collective shoulders, but a first-round fall -or a draft fall, in general- is one of the biggest motivators for a soon-to-be rookie.

And based off his comments, it sounds like the Vikings first-round draft pick, Lewis Cine, has a bone to pick with the Buccaneers.

Cine appeared on the most recent episode of The Richard Sherman Podcast to talk football with the former Seahawk, 49er, and Buccaneer. It was a great conversation, but Cine’s comments toward the Bucs are what stood out the most.

According to Cine, the Buccaneers made it clear they were going to pick him at 27 as long as he was there.

“I had a team at 27,” Cine told Sherman. “They know who they are. I ain’t gonna’ say no names. It was at twenty-seven. The whole process, if you’re there, we’re gonna pick you. They move down to the first pick of the second round. I’m like, damn, they just did me so dirty.”

Cine didn’t name names. But it’s pretty obvious who he’s talking about.

The breadcrumbs and clues are there and they back up Cine’s statement regarding the Buccaneers’ desire to draft him. The potential pairing of the former All-SEC safety and the Buccaneers became more and more likely as the draft crept closer. Many draft pundits and beat reporters had the Buccaneers taking Cine with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the draft. Todd Bowles’ background as an NFL safety, his current status as head coach of the Bucs, and Cine’s body of work/traits were big reasons why.

You don’t have to be Lloyd Christmas in order to put two and two together on this one.

Now, Cine could be blowing things out of proportion, but at the same time, what would he have to gain from doing that? No one is going send him a fruit basket for his disappointing experience. The Vikings aren’t going to give him a raise because the Buccaneers supposedly misled him.

There’s literally nothing to gain from those comments. And, Cine’s character was a big reason why a lot of teams thought highly of him. He doesn’t come off as the type that wants to start drama. Or, more importantly, he doesn’t seem like the type to tell a bald-faced lie.

In defense of the Buccaneers, there’s a great chance they traded down thinking Cine would still be there at 33. It turned out to be the wrong decision if that was indeed Jason Licht’s line of thinking. Still, the Buccaneers aren’t going to call Cine directly and tell him why they decided to trade down. There’s no point in doing so.

But even with that said, it’s not the best idea in the world to approach a player in this fashion. It may be a business, but Cine’s comments don’t put the Bucs in a good light.

At the end of the day, it’s a rather innocuous situation. Yea, it sucks Cine didn’t go higher in the draft and the Buccaneers did gas him up if this is how things went down, but it’s not going to affect Cine’s career in a negative fashion. In fact, one could argue Minnesota is a better situation. They have a clear need for a safety like Cine, whereas, he would’ve been fighting with Antoine Winfield Jr., Mike Edwards, Logan Ryan, and Keanu Neal for playing time in Tampa Bay.

And in regard to the Bucs – this certainly isn’t going to make them look good, but there likely won’t be any long-term ramifications that come out of the ordeal.

The Vikings play the Buccaneers in 2023, so, Cine will get his shot to show the Bucs what they missed out on, soon enough.

You can listen to the full episode of The Richard Sherman Podcast, here.

h/t Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times

Featured image via Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports