Gerald McCoy on Arians' criticism: 'I know who I am'

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Before releasing Gerald McCoy this offseason, new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians had some harsh critiques of the veteran defensive lineman.

Back in March, Arians told reporters that McCoy was "not as disruptive" as he used to be. Two months later, the Bucs cut the veteran and signed Ndamukong Suh to take his place.

After inking a one-year contract with division rival Carolina Panthers this week, McCoy dismissed the criticisms from Arians.

"Nothing," McCoy replied when asked by Max Henson of the team's official website what the critique from Arians meant to him. "That was said by somebody who doesn't know me and was never around me. Why it was said, I really don't care. I know who I am and what I'm capable of. That's why I'm here."

In 2018, McCoy compiled 6.0 sacks, 21 QB hits and 28 tackles. His seven straight seasons with five-plus sacks mark the longest-active streak among DTs. Yet, that he signed a deal for just $8 million (less than Suh got to take his place in Tampa), with incentives that could push it to $10.25 million, suggests the market wasn't entirely enamored with McCoy's recent play.

During his introductory press conference, the 31-year-old focused on his belief that the Panthers offered him the best chance to finally earn playoff success after nine seasons missing out on the postseason in Tampa. Yet, it's clear the chance to face the Bucs twice this season played a role in the decision-making process.

Asked by Henson if he's looking forward to those two tilts, McCoy responded:

"Come on, now. You know that," McCoy said. "If you was me, how would you feel? You know this."

Most anyone -- especially a professional athlete -- would feel slighted if he or she experienced a similar situation to how McCoy's time in Tampa ended.

Luckily for viewers, we don't have to wait long for McCoy to see his former teammates. The Bucs and Panthers do battle in Week 2 on Thursday Night Football on NFL Network.

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