Lewis No Longer Considered For Job

February 8 - In another shocking development in Tampa Bay's search for a head coach, Bucs vice presidents Joel, Bryan and Ed Glazer abruptly ended negotiations with Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis on Friday.

Just as you thought the dust was about to settle regarding Tampa Bay's coaching situation, the Buccaneers franchise was thrown into yet another loop on Friday afternoon when Bucs executive vice presidents Joel, Bryan and Ed Glazer abruptly ended negotiations with Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis and his agent, Ray Anderson on.

Lewis was Bucs general manager Rich McKay's leading candidate for Tampa Bay's head coaching vacancy, but the Glazers urged him to pursue a trade for Oakland head coach Jon Gruden before the Bucs owners would even consider Lewis.

After McKay's initial pursuit of Gruden was alleged to be too pricey in terms of compensation to Oakland, McKay turned his focus back on Lewis on Wednesday night.

According to ESPN, the Glazers met with Lewis for five hours on Thursday evening in a location near Baltimore. The Glazers returned to Tampa on Friday morning and informed a stunned McKay of their decision to end negotiations with Lewis.

One sticking point in negotiations between the Glazers and Lewis was apparently deciding who the team's offensive coordinator was going to be. The Glazers appeared to be unsatisfied with Lewis' approach to helping an offense that did not finish ranked higher than 21st in six seasons with Tony Dungy. Lewis' first choice for offensive coordinator, Cleveland receivers coach Terry Robiskie, was turned down by the team.

"I feel badly that Marvin had to be the victim of what appears to be a power struggle between the Glazer family and Rich McKay," Anderson told ESPN. "Rich acted in good faith through the process but the treatment afforded Marvin by the Glazer family was shabby, to say the least."

According to CNNSI, the deal was so close to being done that the two sides had agreed a press release announcing Lewis' hiring would be announced at 10:30 a.m. ET, but by 11:00, Lewis had informed Baltimore head coach Brian Billick he had not heard from McKay.

"I'm disappointed, obviously, and I feel sorry for my family and the Ravens and all the families whose lives have been put on hold because of this," Lewis told CNNSI. "But I'm going to move on. I guess this is the way it goes. I had been told it was practically done. I don't know anymore. I guess until things happen, they don't happen."

Lewis also informed CNNSI that the Glazers were so intent on hiring someone who can remedy Tampa Bay's woeful offense that Lewis at times felt as if the head coaching job was secondary in their minds.

"Rich said that the Glazers at this point just weren't comfortable in agreeing with Rich's choice of Marvin," Anderson told CNNSI. "They said there weren't going to authorize the hiring.

"Rich, with great reluctance and embarrassment, called to inform me of their decision. Rich was frankly, in a semi-state of shock that at this point they had determined that Marvin was someone they weren't willing to support."

At this point, anything is possible, but the Glazers might make another run at Gruden. It's also possible Tampa Bay could promote defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to the head coaching position for the 2002 season and then take another shot at Gruden when his contract expires after that season.

McKay's future with the team is now very uncertain to say the least. McKay may be fired by the Glazers or he may simply decide to quit and possibly take Atlanta up on their offer to become the Falcons' general manager.

The future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' franchise is more uncertain now than ever before.


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