Buccaneers cornerback Brian Kelly, who is scheduled to earn $1 million in this, his second season of a six-year, $15.3 million contract, finished the 2002 season tied with Oakland's Rod Woodson for the league lead in interceptions with 8 picks.
Kelly finished the 2001 season with no interceptions before signing his contract, and felt he should be compensated for his breakthrough season.
Regarding the reports that he was holding out, Kelly stated, "I never came out and said I'm not reporting. That wasn't the situation. I'm here to win a championship again.
"That was one thing people were saying, that my agent told me to (hold out), but that was not it. I educated myself on the situation. I made sure I was informed. That is why I am here. It would not be a smart move to hold out for something like this, when I have five years left on my contract. That's not smart. What is smart is to come and ask, or make a request. Which is all I did, make a request."
"I didn't come in saying ‘I want new money. I had eight picks. Pay me.' It wasn't a threat, none of those things. Some people took it that way," Kelly added. "But that wasn't the situation. What we asked for, it was something that was very generous, but it wasn't ridiculous. It wasn't something like $5 or $6 million a year, it was taken from the average and the last part of the contract is the average."
Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay plans to talk to Kelly today.
"We have a lot of players who had great years, and we had great team success. And contracts, contrary to some people's perception, are not a perfect science," McKay said. "You're going to have great disagreements at times. I have yet to run into a player who felt like he was adequately paid."
As Kelly gets ready to begin training camp, he had this last thought, "I'm not going to talk about this anymore after today. It's over with, I'm here, ready to play football."
Brian Kelly Reports to Training Camp
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