- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Tuesday marked the first time Verner went through any team drills since he injured his hamstring on the third day of training camp. Coach Lovie Smith said Verner was given a few reps in each period.
Listening to Smith and Verner, it sounds like the Bucs are going to proceed with caution.
“This is his first work in a long time so we’ll kind of ease him back into the mix," Smith said.
Verner said he would like to play this week, but realizes that might not be in his best interest.
"I think they’re going to build up to it," Verner said. "It would be kind of negligent if you went straight full bore. You've got to work in slowly. But I’m looking forward to getting back up to speed with everybody else."
Verner said the missed practice time frustrated him.
"Just as a competitor, I want to be out there with the guys," Verner said. "You spend so much time together and you see things happen and you know what they want from us. You can get a lot of mental reps. But there’s something different about being in a game and making the tackle and hitting somebody. It’s definitely been frustrating."
Even if he doesn’t play against Buffalo, Verner made it sound as if he'd like to test the hamstring in the final preseason game.
"I want to be able to do some stuff in this defense," Verner said. "No matter how many mental reps I have, this is something new for me too. I definitely want to get out there."