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When an NFL player misses an extended period of time, it's never a good thing. However, there's always room to find a silver lining amidst the turmoil.

That's been the case with Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who dislocated his elbow back in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. SMB has been rehabbing and patiently awaiting his chance to get back on the field ever since it happened. Fortunately, the Bucs designated him to return from injured reserve last week, which opened a 21-day practice window that will determine SMB's official timeline for return. 

“It was a long eight weeks," Murphy-Bunting told reporters on Wednesday. "Coming out here every day just putting my head down and really just trying to get back to being on the field and being able to contribute with the guys that I started with. That’s been my main goal this entire process is just doing everything I can to get back with them.”

The former Central Michigan Chippewa has learned a lot while standing on the sidelines over the last 8-9 weeks. While he hasn't been able to make the plays he's used to making on the field, he's seen a whole new side of things when it comes to the game of football. 

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And that's the silver lining through all of this.

“Throughout the time that I was out, I got to look at football in a different light. I was out at the practices but I wasn’t a player. I had a mindset of a coach and I was trying to make sure guys knew what they were doing," said SMB. "Just picking guy’s brains, like Sherman, and just seeing what he would do in different situations. It put me in a different perspective. It allowed me to see football for what football is and I got to see every aspect of it. Honestly, it was a blessing in disguise because I’ve never really gotten a chance to sit down and kind of [dissect] football. It was a game changer for me and it kind of made me look at things a lot differently, and the way I attack each and every day a lot differently now.”

How SMB's absence affects his on-field play remains to be seen, but the one thing that's guaranteed is that he and the Bucs are confident in whomever has to step up next.

“I think every guy that we’ve had in our room has stepped up and has done everything that we’ve asked them to do each and every week, each and every day, whether it’s Dee Delaney, Pierre [Desir], Richard Sherman, Ross [Cockrell]. Guys are just stepping up and being accountable, being that next man up and not having a lack in performance. I think everybody has done a really good job of that and I think it’s only going to continue to grow once we get everybody back healthy and ready to ride.”

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