Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Getting to Know Alterraun Verner

Buccaneers.com sat down for a Q&A with the cornerback.

Check out some of the best shots of Bucs CB Alterraun Verner from the 2014 season.

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The low-down:Alterraun Verner is a starting cornerback for the Buccaneers. He was signed by the team in the spring of 2014 after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Titans. In 2013, he was named to his first Pro Bowl.Q: How and when did you get involved in playing football?
A: "I started I believe when I was six playing flag football. My dad just signed me up to see if I would like it."

Q: What was your high school career like?
A: "I ran track, played basketball and played football. I enjoyed all three of those sports. Football I was a varsity member for three years. We had some really good seasons. We made it to the semi-finals twice. I was invited to the Cal-Florida game my senior year. I played both sides of the ball; I played safety on defense and I played receiver on offense."

Q: Were you getting recruited by a lot of teams coming out of high school?
A: "No. I had I think a total of seven or eight scholarships."

Q: How did you decide on UCLA?
A: "UCLA was my dream school. It was in southern California and an academic institution. I got to compete in a very tough conference in the Pac 10. All of those factors made it ideal for me. I always wanted to go to UCLA since I was five or six years old."

Q: You played well in each of your four seasons there. When you look back at your time playing at UCLA, how do you remember it?
A: "There were a lot of learning experiences. We didn't play too, too well as a team so I had my ups and downs. When it was over, it was a great experience. I wouldn't change it for the world. The relationships I built from the non-football point to those I built being a part of the UCLA football team made it a great overall experience. I loved every second of it."


Q: You were drafted before you finished school but went back to finish your degree in 2011. Why was that important for you?**
A: "It's always been real important for me to finish up and get my degree. I'm still at a very young age. My mom and my sister engrained in me that I needed to get a degree from college. I wasn't the first one from my family to graduate from college. I'm the youngest, I was actually the last one. It was a big thing for me to finish up. I was only a few credits away from finishing up so I wanted to do it as soon as possible before I forgot the stuff that I had learned."

Q: After you finished your college career and you're heading into the draft, what kind of expectations did you have?
A: "I thought I was going to be a second or third-round pick mainly because of the fact that I knew the draft was about intangibles and how fast you run. I wasn't a sexy pick for a lot of teams so I probably wasn't going to be a first-round pick even thought I felt that I was better than most of the guys that were getting drafted ahead of me. My expectations were to be thankful for any team that selected me and I was going to try my best to contribute to the team and make the team."

Q: Obviously 2014 was tough for everyone. How do you look back at your first season with the Bucs?
A: "It was like my time at UCLA. When you lose, some people just look at it as a negative. I look at the positives in that it was a great learning experience for me. It was a humbling experience from the perspective that you can always find something to get better at, even if you played great the year before. I enjoyed the time with my teammates and coaches. It was a learning experience from the system to all the new coaches and all of the players. There was a lot of turnover last year before so I'm expecting a lot more continuity this year."


Q: Is there anywhere you go to train or someone you train with every offseason?**
A: "No, there aren't any specific people. I would say the one person that I have most consistently done stuff with is Chris Conte, the safety that we just signed. But I don't really train with too many key guys, per say. I do a lot of individual-type stuff. The areas of stuff that I've been looking into are more techniques within the defense because there is a lot of stuff that is different here than there is with other teams. Having a full year in the scheme and in the system, I'm really just trying to dial in on how I can be the most successful I can be."

Q: Some off-the-field questions. If you weren't playing football, what do you think you would be doing?
A: "I think I could see myself being a teacher and a coach. I could see myself, if I knew for sure that the NFL wasn't going to happen, being some type of engineer or something to do with building and mathematics too."

Q: What's your favorite TV show?
A: "My favorite cartoon of all-time is Dragon Ball Z."

Q: How about your favorite movie?
A: "Back to the Future."

Q: Favorite food?
A: "I would probably say a combination of rice and teriyaki chicken or teriyaki beef together. Like some type of combination bowl or something like that."

Q: What kind of music do you have on your iPod?
A: "I've got a very eclectic taste. I listen to everything. I've got a little bit of country, I've got a little bit of hip-hop, R&B, jazz, gospel, classical. I like listening to all different types of music."

Q: If you could have dinner with three people, living or passed away, who would you pick?
A: Jesus, Martin Luther King and Gandhi.

Q: Who's an athlete you looked up to as a kid?
A: Jerry Rice.

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