Buccaneers declined HBO’s Hard Knocks

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TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - The Buccaneers have said no to HBO.

Tampa Bay has declined an invitation to be featured on the cable TV network’s next edition of “Hard Knocks,” the team said on its Twitter account Monday.

“We have respectfully declined this year’s `Hard Knocks’ invitation,” the team announced. “Wonderful show, but the team wants to keep the focus on the field in 2011.”

Tampa Bay went from 3-13 in 2009 to 10-6 last season and has a strong core of young players led by quarterback Josh Freeman, receiver Mike Williams and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

“Hard Knocks” won three Sports Emmys for its portrayal of the New York Jets in last year’s series. The show has been on the air intermittently since its debut in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens.

In subsequent years, the Dallas Cowboys (2002 and 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2009) and Jets have been spotlighted.

“Finding and selecting a team for `Hard Knocks’ each year is a process,” HBO spokesman Ray Stallone said. “We remain optimistic.”

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