A Returner Regret And A Cornerback Mistake

May 23rd, 2022

No, this is not a post about Bucs returner Jaelon Darden.

The more time former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik spends as a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio, the more he reveals about his 20 years serving the Tampa Bay franchise in various capacities.

Joe loves soaking in all the Bucs history.

Last week, Dominik was asked to recall a player he evaluated in rookie minicamp and regrettably didn’t sign. Dominik pointed to former Washington returner Brandon Banks, an undrafted 5-7. 150-pound speedster who was brought to Tampa Bay rookie camp as an undrafted player in 2011.

Dominik explained that he and his coaching staff really liked Banks (Raheem Morris was head coach) but felt he was too small for the NFL. The Bucs didn’t offer Banks a contract and the Redskins scooped him up. He was a strong, full-time returner in 2010, and a year later Banks led the NFL in kickoff return yards.

Dominik also flashed back to the summer of 1998, when Rich McKay was general manager. In 1997, the Bucs made cornerback Al Harris a sixth-round pick. Dominik explained that upper Bucs management had an obsession with players from Texas A&M Kingsville.

Harris didn’t play as a 1997 rookie and while the Bucs liked him, they cut him after the 1998 preseason in favor of an undrafted cornerback from (you guessed it) Texas A&M Kingsville.

Harris went on to miss just 10 games over the next 12 years playing for the Eagles and Packers, and he made two trips to the Pro Bowl after the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Joe’s not blasting the Bucs for letting Harris walk. They had a legendary defense after Harris left. But all this history is a great reminder that it’s very easy to give up on a player too soon — and that player evaluation is a critical skill before and after the draft.

22 Responses to “A Returner Regret And A Cornerback Mistake”

  1. Bucaroo Says:

    Al Harris is one among many, many good players that the Bucs have let get away. Players from Hobart (or just one) have probably had more impact for the Bucs.

  2. GOB Says:

    As long as we’re talking about small NFL players, it would be a sin not to mention Danny Woodhead. A 5’8 running back (probably closer to 5’6) who played much bigger than his size. Sometimes guts and determination are overlooked by scouts. Banks is a great example of what sheer will can do for a career.

  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    I’m fatigued by Mark Dumbernim flapping his incompetent trap. Thanks to his Simone’s, we had to endure the lost decade. What a maroon.

  4. Goatfarmer Says:

    Thanks to his ineptitude. Sorry.

  5. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Dominik was an over promoted coffee fetcher ( Joe’s term ) disguised as a GM. To hear him now makes a Bucs’ fan wince. Revises history a bit ( we all do I suppose ). There’s probably a reason he never sniffed another front office job after making Mike Tannenbaum look like Ron Wolf by comparison.

  6. tampabuscsbro Says:

    I mean Rockstar GM Mark Dominik is an outright oaf.

    He made draft blunder after draft blunder. Along with multitudes of personnel blunders.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Did you ever ask him why he got rid of Michael Bennett “for no good reason”?

  8. Show Me the TDs Says:

    The reason Dominik could only think of these two was because as the architect of the lost decade he didn’t draft too many players he would have regretted cutting.

  9. Tony Says:

    We need to bring everybody back from 20 years ago & everything. That would be nice. Wasn’t anything dumb really going on then or anything. Just had a D that knew how to play & work with each other. Offense didn’t need to put up 30 points every week to win. Could probably put up half of that & they’d have a chance.

  10. Stone crab sam Says:

    Perhaps the Bucs got rid of Michael bennet for the same reasons why suh hasn’t signed yet? Or am I being too harsh?

  11. SB Says:

    Why are the fish on drugs in Fla.?

  12. MadMax Says:

    The biggest cb mistake? Lol, what was his name, Wright? Dom paid him millions…it was crazy!!

  13. GOB Says:

    Winny, coffee fetchers and airport pickerupers constitutes the bulk of the Patriots coaching staff. That an nepotism has destroyed a once great franchise. Truth in what you said

  14. cmurda Says:

    Sorry to hijack here but the Lightning are far more interesting than the Bucs underwear practices. 2 goals overturned. The first one was obnoxious. Why even bother playing the game if the Florida Chickens are going to be handed the W anyway.

  15. GOB Says:

    @JoeBucsFan, as long as we’re talking about old bucs players, not a word about Calvin Magee? He died way too soon. Playing at a time when the bucs were the yucks, and catching 45 passes, mostly from Steve Young during the 86 season at least deserves a mention.

  16. Upthegut Says:

    Officials are doing their best to give the panThurds the game. If it took 9 minutes to determine the puck hit the net then maybe it didn’t.
    Corelli May have accidentally touch the puck with a small part of a finger but the force and direction came from the stitch. No intent to direct with hand by Corelli.

  17. cmurda Says:


    100%. Well said. It’s now 3-0 but it’s actually 1-0. OK, I’ll concede our 2nd goal but not that first one.

  18. GOB Says:

    Upthegut, I’m switching back and forth between hockey and Eastern conference finals. If the NBA and their collection of crooked refs can get it right, we’re all doomed!!

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Michael Bennet was a plan B free agent. Don could have kept him by matching Seattle’s offer but Bennet wanted out. He hated Tampa (the city) and he hated the weather. He wasn’t going to stay here so Dom basically released him with only draft pick compensation

  20. Brandon Says:

    I’m blasting the Bucs for letting go of Al Harris. The player they cut him in favor of was Floyd Young, who got absolutely roasted numerous times on opening day by a rookie by the name of Randy Moss. When Harris got cut, rumor has it that he publicly exclaimed that he would make the team regret not keeping him. He kept his word. Floyd Young was terrible and Al Harris was one of the better CBs in the NFC for a long time.

  21. Brandon Says:

    Anonymous Says:
    May 23rd, 2022 at 10:18 pm
    Michael Bennet was a plan B free agent. Don could have kept him by matching Seattle’s offer but Bennet wanted out. He hated Tampa (the city) and he hated the weather. He wasn’t going to stay here so Dom basically released him with only draft pick compensation


    Nothing you said here was true. Plan B free agency no longer existed when Bennett was with the team. There was no matching Seattle’s offer. Seattle gave him a modest one year deal but the Bucs had no interest due to having no faith in Bennett’s shoulder, that he opted not to have surgery on, and possibly not fans of his perceived attitude, he wasn’t a Schiano man. The Bucs got no compensation for him and wasn’t released. He was never offered a contract.

  22. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Brandon, thank you for that correct synopsis of Micheal Bennett. And the main point was “MB was NOT a Shiano man”. Too much of an attitude for Shiano. Imagine Shiano with AB, seriously LMFAO.

    And good coaches manage these individuals, like Mike Tomlin “managed” AB for years and Phil Jackson manages the egos of MJ, Pippen, Rodman, etc then somehow managed the enormous egos of Shaq and Bryant. With the egos that are in professional sports, that is what separates the great coaches.