Chris Conte, the much-maligned safety of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is about to become a free agent. For many fans this is a good thing. The popularity of Conte is partially bewildering, considering what the veteran safety brings to the young Bucs’ defense.
Conte played in both victories to start the season and played in the majority of the painful loss to Pittsburgh in week 3. It was during this game that the safety sustained a season-ending PCL injury. After this the wheels really fell off the Tampa defense. Plays were blown, and coverages were missed. Players were too often in the wrong place.
Whilst Conte has been a favourite punching bag for Bucs fans, the sad fact is many don’t actually understand what just happened on the field. People are too quick to criticize simply because Chris was the closest to the play. Sometimes it has been pure guts and determination that got the 8-year veteran to the play. Conte has been in the league long enough to realize when a play has broken down and start hauling ass in that direction.
It’s that passion that has given Conte longevity in his career, and all his coaches have issued a wry smile and dismissal when they have been asked about Chris Conte and his poor play. Simply because it isn’t there.
Tampa Bay needs a safety, and with Conte they have a reasonable player with a good market cost who always gives everything. This might not be a popular opinion, but it’s time to bring him back.