Buccaneers turn down HBO 'Hard Knocks' offer

Despite struggling to fill the pirate’s ship known as Raymond James Stadium last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t going to take their product to a pay channel this summer.

The club announced today that it has declined HBO’s invitation to be featured in the popular series “Hard Knocks” this summer.

We have respectfully declined this year's Hard Knocks invitation. Wonderful show, but the team wants to keep the focus on the field in 2011,” the Bucs said on the team’s official Twitter page.

The Bucs didn’t show their product – at the least the home games – to their local television audience last season despite an exciting 10-6 season that saw them just miss the playoffs. All but one home game was blacked out locally meaning.

With some young stars and a personable head coach in Raheem Morris, appearing on “Hard Knocks” could have given the Bucs some more momentum with the ticket-buying public.

Assuming there are training camps, who will appear on the show? The New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders are being mentioned as possibilities.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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