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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs give video-star QB Tanney chance to stick

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Published:   |   Updated: May 27, 2014 at 06:26 PM

— For a prospect trying to make it in the NFL, nothing is more important than what he puts on tape. That's good news for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback hopeful Alex Tanney, because he's put together a doozy.

In one clip Tanney shows off his arm strength by throwing a ball more than 50 yards while down on one knee.

In another he shows off his accuracy by throwing a ball into a garbage can from a gymnasium rooftop more than 60 yards away.

Then there's the throw he makes through his second-story dormitory room window into the back of a moving pick up truck.

“It's all real,'' Tanney said Tuesday of the five-minute trick-shot video that went viral almost immediately after he and a Monmouth College buddy put it together and posted it online a couple years ago.

“It was just me and my buddies having some fun after practice one day. It's really just us grabbing a bag of balls and going out and having some fun and getting a little lucky.''

Tanney hasn't had the same kind of luck since. Despite putting his truly unique set of skills on tape, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Lexington, Ill., has yet to secure an NFL job.

And it's not like he hasn't been given a chance. Though he went undrafted in 2012, Tanney spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns before earning a spot with Bucs during a tryout last week.

“Yeah, I've really been bounced around,'' Tanney said Tuesday following a workout at One Buc Place. “Right now I'm really just trying to get somewhere and stay long enough to develop and learn the system and get some reps.''

Tanney may have found just such an opportunity. Coach Lovie Smith hasn't seen the viral trick-shot video Tanney put together, but what he has seen makes him him think Tanney is worthy of a lengthy look.

“Each week we bring new players in and if we think they're better than what we have on our roster at that time we'll make a move,'' Smith said. “So, Alex came in last week and did a good job.

“I'm told he's a YouTube sensation. I have to admit, I'm a little bit behind the times on that, but on the football field he did some good things and we're going to go to camp with four quarterbacks and he's our fourth.''

Moreso than the video, Tanney's resume suggests he's worthy of a look. A two-time all-state selection in high school, Tanney went on to earn Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors three times at Monmouth.

Honors such as those almost always go to players who set records and Tanney set a slew of them at Monmouth, including the NCAA all-division mark for career touchdown passes with 157.

Tanney also left Monmouth with the Division III mark for most passing yards in a career with 14,249, but the most yards he's thrown for in the NFL is 136 in a preseason game with Dallas last year.

Tanney also threw a touchdown pass while completing 14 of 19 passes in that game, which came against an Arizona Cardinals team whose director of player personnel at the time was Jason Licht.

Licht is now the Bucs' general manager and obviously saw first-hand what Tanney is capable of, but if that outing played a part in the Bucs' decision to sign Tanney, they aren't saying.

Nor is anyone saying much about Tanney's video. Tanney said fellow quarterback Josh McCown mentioned it briefly on Tuesday, but other than that it has yet to become a topic of conversation around the locker room.

It probably won't be long before it does. Tanney's video caused quite a stir around the football world when it first came out three years ago and history suggests it can still spark a ruckus.

“Last year it didn't come up for the first couple of weeks, but then someone spotted it and it just kind of spread throughout the team,'' Tanney said. “And during my rookie year, my nickname was 'Trick Shot.'

“I don't mind. We had a lot of fun making it and everything and it brought a lot of attention to Monmouth and to Division III football, so that was a good thing. It was a good experience.''

It's an experience few are likely to see again. Tanney says his days of doing trick shots and making videos are over, replaced by days spent trying to devour a new playbook and earn an NFL roster spot.

“No, I don't do it anymore,'' Tanney said. “I'm retired from doing the trick shots. It was fun and, like I said, it brought the school a lot of attention, but I don't want that to become my legacy.''

rcummings@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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