By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
The San Francisco 49ers looked to stock pile veterans in their secondary as they agreed to acquire cornerback Eric Wright from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a disclosed 2014 draft selection Friday. Well, this apparent swap was returned to Tampa Bay as Wright failed his physical Monday, and the Bucs drop him like a hot potato; causing him to become a free agent.
Friday’s agreement to acquire Wright in a trade came just after a week later when Wright was arrested in Los Angeles on a misdemeanor charge. With no regard of Wright’s actions, including his usage of Adderall last season as 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh was very vocal on his stance against PEDs, the 49ers were interested.
There is no word on what part of the physical Wright failed.
When asked about Wright during the 49ers’ press conference, Harbaugh was extremely short with his answers and deferred the topics, including the possibility of pursuing him as a free agent, to general manager Trent Baalke.
“Really, the better guy to talk to is (general manager) Trent (Baalke). He’s got a clear understanding of this specific transaction. So I’ll defer to him on that.”
Wright has started 81 out of 85 career games since entering in the league as a second round pick (53rd-overall) of the Cleveland Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft.
The 5-10, 200-pound defensive back showed promise as a major player in the NFL with his solid numbers. Wright recorded 363 tackles, 14 interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, five fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, one sack and 70 passes defensed in his six-year career.
Those promising numbers lead to large numbers of dollars in his bank account after he signed a five-year, $35.3 million deal, which included $15 million guaranteed, with the Bucs in 2012 after a standout season with the Detroit Lions.
With the Buccaneers last season, Wright’s numbers did not reflect the performance of his previous campaign when he had 74 tackles and four interceptions in 16 starts. He started 10 games registering 39 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and eight passes defensed.
Apparently, Wright – the football player – performs on the gridiron well without many question marks. However, it’s the off the field – player – in Wright who has all the question marks.
Dating back to his college days, Wright was suspected from USC due to off the field issues, which caused him to transfer to UNLV. Last season, the 28-year old defensive back was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of DUI. The Bucs, clearly, wanted to work with Wright as they looked to restructure his deal. In April, Wright accepted an agreement to earn $1.5 million for the upcoming season, instead of the $7.75 million he was scheduled to make.
A four-game suspension last season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and a July arrest later, despite not having his previous charges stick, the Buccaneers had enough.
And that was clearly evident Monday as the Buccaneers subsequently released the cornerback.
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