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Bucs turn down Hard Knocks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31: Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to Head Coach Raheem Morris during a timeout against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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After months of reports tying the Tampa Bay Buccanneers to Hard Knocks, the team announced Monday that they have declined to be featured on this year’s version of the HBO show.

“We have respectfully declined this year’s Hard Knocks invitation. Wonderful show, but the team wants to keep the focus on the field in 2011,” the team said in a statement.

There’s a solid chance there won’t even be a Hard Knocks this year anyway, if the lockout drags on until August. (Unless we get Hard Knocks: Hoboken High School.)

Still, we’re a little surprised that the Bucs turned it down after openly flirting for months. So what happened?

It’s possible the team’s legal troubles recently caused the squad to shy away. A focus of the show would have possibly been on Aqib Talib and other courtroom issues. Or perhaps the Bucs knew they weren’t going to accept the invitation all along, knowing that they would get a lot of free publicity along the way.

Either way, we are disappointed the Bucs won’t be on the show. It would have been fun to hear more from Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman.

We just hope some team’s story gets told instead and that one of the best shows on television doesn’t fall victim to the lockout.