Bittersweet day for Bennett, Miller
Sunday's 22-17 victory against Atlanta was particularly bittersweet for a couple of Buccaneers defensive linemen. DE Michael Bennett and DT Roy Miller, who played key roles on the NFL's No. 1 rushing defense, are slated to become free agents in March and both realize they may have worn Tampa Bay uniforms for the final time.
"It's a business and I know this could have been my last game with this organization,'' said Bennett, who led the Bucs with nine sacks this season. "All these people in here are like my family. I built a lot of relationships that I want to keep, whether I'm here or not next year.''
Miller helped limit the Falcons to only 65 yards on the ground as Atlanta threw 46 times in 62 snaps. "Today, everybody had a chip on their shoulder,'' said Miller, a third-round pick in 2009 who enjoyed a career year. "Like we proved today, this team has so much potential. I'm excited to come back, hopefully.''
LB Adam Hayward, who has one year remaining on his contract, knows changes are imminent. "We wanted to end with a bang,'' Hayward said, "because this is the last time our locker room will look exactly like this. Turnover is the nature of this business. We had nothing to lose today. Why not go out and play hard for each other and put good stuff on tape?"
As he packed a bag for the return flight to Tampa, Bennett couldn't help but reflect on an organization that claimed him off waivers from Seattle a month into the 2009 season.
"Whether I'm back here or not, I'll always be grateful to the Bucs and respect everything they've done for me,'' Bennett said. "As I look around this room, it's a very emotional day.''