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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Tampa Bay reportedly gives five-year, $17.5-million deal

February 19, 2002

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— Tampa Bay's long, embarrassing search for a coach ended Monday with the hiring of Jon Gruden, one of the elite candidates they had sought all along.

"I'm glad we finally got this out of the way and we can move forward," said Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks, one of several Tampa Bay players who have expressed concern about the damage the search has done to the franchise's image.

The Raiders said the Bucs will give up first- and second-round draft picks this year, a No. 1 in 2003, a second-round pick in 2004 and $8 million over the next three years.

The price was steeper than Tampa Bay would have paid for San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci, another viable candidate, who has two years left on his contract. The 49ers were offered first- and third-round picks in 2002 and second- and third-round picks next year.

"They've got themselves a heck of a coach," said Mariucci, who didn't want to uproot his family. "The Tampa Bay situation is perfect for (Gruden's family)."

The Bucs said Gruden had received a five-year deal. Terms were not disclosed, however ESPN.com reported it was worth $17.5 million, or about $3.5 million per season.

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