I don’t personally watch “Hard Knocks” on HBO and don’t plan to for various reasons — but a lot of people do and a lot of people seem to like it. So I was unaware that Jeremy McNichols, one of the members of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, was a pretty big deal on the current season of the show, which features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
McNichols spent time with the Buccaneers this offseason, and when he didn’t make the team’s 53-man roster, they expected he would sign to the practice squad. He did not, and instead joined the 49ers. I’m not sure I think that was the smartest decision for him given the 49ers’ collection of young runners, but it’s still the decision he made.
Apparently, it was a little more dramatic than that, at least according to the TV show (and we all know nothing on TV is over-dramatized). Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area went ahead and noted a conversation from the show between Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter and McNichols from Tuesday’s season finale.
That conversation saw Koetter telling McNichols that he was going to be waived. It also saw Koetter suggest that he didn’t expect to be doing this and that something simply didn’t work out with McNichols, who says that he wanted to stick around with the Buccaneers.
It then shows Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht apparently angry that McNichols signed with the 49ers instead of the Buccaneers, and implied that McNichols got his feelings hurt and that the running back “bailed” on his former team. He also said some things that would violate [site decorum], but you can use your imagination with context from Maiocco’s writeup.
As an aside, this is the most revealing aspect to me, and kind of silly given how often the NFL and executives with NFL teams try and emphasize the business-like nature of the league. A general manager throwing a fit over a player making a business decision seems hilarious and also a little sad given the current state of the NFL.
Anyway — the whole back-and-forth is very interesting. I don’t really know how much of it is for the sake of the TV show and how much of it is legitimate, but it is interesting and you should read Maiocco’s piece, which transcribes the conversations referenced above.