It's Official: Alstott Still A Buc

April 20 - As Buccaneer Magazine first reported on Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed fullback Mike Alstott to a new four-year contract, and on Saturday, the Bucs made the signing official. Alstott is now under contract through the 2005 season and expressed his excitement in remaining in Tampa Bay.

Here's a transcript of Mike Alstott's comments following the official announcement of his contract extension:

Alstott on getting the contract extension behind him:
"It's finished. It was a long progress with negotiations. I negotiated my contract to remain a Buccaneer and to win some Super Bowls as a Buccaneer with Coach Gruden and this organization. Both sides really did a great job trying to get things going. It took some time, but I thought it was a great job by both sides on being patient. Obviously, the Buccaneers had other deals they had to get done and sign other players and at the same time get my deal done."

"Once the extension came about after the April 15 deadline, you could think either positive or negative about the situation. But we really thought it was positive because they could let me go or trade me if they wanted to, but they really wanted to extend things. We knew they would take some time and things worked out the way we wanted to and we're happy."

How much did you want to stay in Tampa and get this deal done to remain a Buccaneer?
"I believe I've played my part in trying to turn this franchise around -- not just my part, but my teammates part, too. There's been a lot of pain, a lot of sweat and a lot of blood to help this organization. I came in the year we went 6-10 in Coach Dungy's first year, and then we turned around the next year and went to the playoffs. Every year after that we've put winning records together. I left my heart on the field. When you build something with your core teammates you don't want to leave. With Coach Gruden coming in and all of the positive things that have been going on in the offseason, and with my family I've started here, and the business opportunities I've started around here in the last six years, it's tough to leave."

How difficult was it to see this story play out in the media and remain patient?
"My agent just told me to be patient. He said, 'I might not talk to you tomorrow or the next day, and I may not talk to Rich (McKay) over the last couple of days. Just be patient.' It was frustrating at times, but both parties did a great job working it out."

You had a no-trade clause put into your contract. How important was that clause in the grand scheme of things pertaining to your deal?
"I want to be a Buccaneer. I didn't want to go through this process today and have something come about where I could be traded. We knew it would work, we just needed some verifications about the contract."

What can you say about sharing the load with Michael Pittman?
"Both of us run the ball and we can hurt some defenses. We're both physical backs. Mike's a very fast, quick guy. We can take turns hammering the defenses. We can both catch the ball. It's going to be exciting. I think my role will be fullback, halfback -- kind of like I've done in the past. We've got a long ways to go as an offense. We've got another mini-camp and we're going to continue to refine our offense."

By restructuring your contract this week, the Bucs freed up some money to sign Pro Bowl TE Ken Dilger and WR Karl Williams. You're a team guy, what do you think of contributing to those guys getting signed?
"It gives us more weapons on the field and more combinations we can put in the lineup. It obviously helps our chances to become champions. Four more years, that's all I plan on playing. I want a ring, or a couple of rings, or three or four rings. I'm going to be greedy about it. With the free agents they're putting together -- it's exciting."

Do you want to retire as a Buccaneer? How important is that to you?
"It would be difficult to go play somewhere else. With all of the hard work I've put in, I think I've given something to this organization that I've helped this team turn around. There's another level to bring this team to. I want to be a Buccaneer. You don't see very often where a player stays with an organization for nine, 10, 11 years. I'm excited and grateful for the opportunity."

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