Running back Giovani Bernard has been a quality receiving threat out of the backfield since he entered the league in 2012, making 342 receptions for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns throughout his career. Even as the Bengals went 4-11-1 last season, Bernard tied for third on the club with 47 catches.
After spending eight seasons in Cincinnati with three playoff appearances, Bernard signed with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was reportedly interested in Bernard because of those receiving skills. But one reason Bernard elected to put pen to paper was his sense of the team’s desire for continued greatness.
“The biggest pitch for me was the opportunity to be a part of something that I feel like they’re continuing to build — even though they already won the Super Bowl,” Bernard said in his Wednesday press conference. “I still felt that they were still trying to show, or prove, or whatever it may have been. Even [through] just the little phone calls that I was able to have — it just felt like these guys are still trying to do something great, and they’ve already won it. So that, to me, was just a little bit of a difference from the other teams I was talking with.”
The Buccaneers have brought back all 22 offensive and defensive starters in an effort to become the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls since the 2003 and 2004 Patriots. Bernard’s chances of not just reaching the playoffs, but also winning his first postseason game will be much higher in 2021 than they were in 2020.