Gruden Confident McKay Will Stay

February 20 – Jon Gruden was introduced on Wednesday as Tampa Bay's new head coach, but general manager Rich McKay was missing in action. McKay's status with the team is still unclear, but Gruden expressed his interest in seeing him remain with the Buccaneers organization.

Tampa Bay executive vice presidents Joel and Bryan Glazer may or may not want to keep general manager Rich McKay aboard the Buccaneers ship, but Jon Gruden is certain he'd like to see McKay stick around.

"I don't want to speculate on that. I'm confident that everything is going to work out with Rich (McKay)," said Gruden. "I'm mentally getting myself prepared to coach a football team and going to concentrate on that aspect of football. I am really looking forward to working with Rich McKay, and I am confident it will work itself out."

McKay and the Glazer's relationship has been sour ever since the Bucs owners undermined McKay's decision to hire former Baltimore Ravens and now Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis as the team's head coach.

The Glazers refused to hire McKay's coaching choice and continued the coaching search without him, which did not sit well with McKay.

McKay, who has one year remaining on his contract , has interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons for their vacant general manager position, but the Glazers want a compensation package which includes a No. 1 draft pick this year and a No. 2 draft pick in 2003 in exchange for McKay.

"We have spoken to Rich and we plan on continuing discussions over the next few days and into next week," said Bryan Glazer. "We don't expect any decision regarding Rich until at least next week."

The Buccaneers are approximately $9.4 million over the salary cap, and they could certainly use a cap guru like McKay to address that situation. Gruden is well aware of the damaged relationship between McKay and the Glazers, but he's confident both sides will settle their differences and continue to work together.

"If you know Rich McKay, I think he has a real thick skin about him," said Gruden. "He's had seven unbelievable years here, and with the Glazers, maybe the last couple of weeks haven't been like the last seven years, but I'm confident this whole thing is going to work out."


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