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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs trade CB Eric Wright to 49ers

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Published:   |   Updated: July 19, 2013 at 06:40 PM

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have washed their hands of troubled cornerback Eric Wright.

A little more than two weeks after Wright was arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor DUI in Los Angeles, the Bucs traded the six-year veteran to the San Francisco 49ers on Friday for a conditional 2014 draft pick.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik would not provide specifics, but said character concerns factored into the decision to move Wright.

The team also believes its corps of cornerbacks has improved. Veteran Darrelle Revis, acquired in an April trade, is expected to start at left cornerback, assuming he is completely recovered from surgery to repair a torn ACL. And rookie Johnthan Banks was the team's top draft pick, chosen in the second round.

"I feel really good about where Darrelle Revis is in his rehab and with what we have in Johnthan Banks,'' Dominik said after making the trade.

"We also have Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer there, and both of those guys came on for us last year. And we have some good young talent at cornerback that we're excited about, guys like Rashaan Melvin.''

The move means the Bucs will go into training camp looking for a new starter at right cornerback, opposite Revis. Banks was expected to compete with Wright for that job, but now appears the favorite to win it.

"Jonathan (has so far) performed like a rookie would perform," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "He has learned a new scheme and done a good job and made some good plays.

"He has has shown us some skill and ability. And now is when he will get the repetitions, because training camp is a day-after-day thing where you can really make improvements."

Hoping to improve a secondary light on talent, the Bucs signed Wright to a five-year, $38-million contract as a free agent in March 2012. From the very beginning of his Bucs tenure, though, it appeared as if the signing might be a mistake.

For reasons the Bucs did not specify, Wright missed time during the offseason workout program. He was then arrested and charged with felony driving under the influence after being involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles on July 2, 2012.

The charge was dropped less than two weeks later, but once the football season began Wright continued to occasionally miss practice time because of back and ankle injuries.

He retained his starter's job despite the injuries, but on Nov. 26 he was suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Wright claimed he used Adderall. Wright returned for the final game of the season, but did not play.

For the season, he played in 10 games, recording 37 tackles and one interception.

A lack of depth at the cornerback position forced the Bucs to retain Wright for 2013, but only after reworking his contract to a one-year, $1.5-million deal.

Wright apparently blew that second chance when he was arrested at 9:15 p.m. on July 12. Police records show Wright was released after posting a $5,000 bail on July 13. He faces a court hearing in Los Angeles on Aug. 7.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

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