The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will say goodbye to a veteran presence on defense.

Buccaneers release McCoy after nine seasons

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released defensive tackle and six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy after nine NFL seasons.

Tampa Bay decided not to pay McCoy the $13million he was due for the upcoming season, it was announced on Monday.

It is another hit to the Buccaneers defense, who may be without sack leader Jason Pierre-Paul after he was injured in a car accident in May.

"These decisions are very difficult, personally and professionally," general manager Jason Licht said via the team's official website. "Over the past nine years, Gerald has been a cornerstone of this franchise and a leader in our community.

"Parting ways with a player and person such as Gerald is one of the toughest responsibilities of this job."

McCoy was selected by Tampa Bay as the third overall pick in the 2010 draft. The 31-year-old was First-Team All-Pro in 2013. 

"I know Gerald has done a lot of good things on and off the football field in Tampa during his time here," head coach Bruce Arians said. "You hate to see good football players go, but this is a decision that we felt needed to be made in order to allow us, and Gerald, the ability to move forward. Gerald is a class-act and I wish him the best.”  "

McCoy leaves the Buccaneers with 54.5 career sacks, 22 passes defended and 296 total tackles, including 140 quarterback hits.

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