Allen Addresses Major Issues

Bucs start talking about 2006

By Jeff Berlinicke

TAMPA – Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen gave his State of the Bucs address on Thursday and addressed specific issues such as the salary cap, the status of Mike Alstott and the rumors regarding former Eagles receiver Terrell Owens.

He remained upbeat throughout, but cautioned Bucs fans that the salary cap was going to be difficult to manage for the 2006 season, the last one before an uncapped year that might allow the Bucs to finally spend some money.

If there is no extension of the cap, the Bucs are $19 million over the cap, which might mean the elimination of at least one defensive star, possibly Simeon Rice. He also addressed the fact that quarterback Chris Simms is a restricted free agent, but said he plans on maintaining contact with Simms and his agent to structure a new deal. Where that leaves Brian Griese is unknown.

Allen also addressed issues regarding the coaching staff. It's no secret that Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin is a hot commodity and that the St. Louis Rams are interested in him to fill their head coaching vacancy. Kiffin gave the Rams permission to talk to Kiffin. He also gave the Detroit Lions permission to interview Defensive Line Coach Rod Marinelli. Whatever happens will likely lead to some sort of shakeup in the Bucs coaching staff come this spring when the Bucs reconvene.

As for the tumultuous Owens, Allen refused to comment, but it's no secret around the NFL that the Bucs are somewhat interested in Owens once the Eagles start what will likely turn out to be a bidding war for the troubled star. Owens has been a cancer in every locker room he's ever invaded, but the Bucs and every other team in the NFL love his talent and he'd make a good fit on the field, especially after Michael Clayton's disappointing sophomore season.

Alstott had an interesting season, scoring on short yardage situations, but not producing much in other places. Dismissing him would be a major public relations hit for a team still reeling from the release of popular stars such as Joe Jurivicius and John Lynch, but the play of NFC Rookie of the Year Cadillac Williams might make Alstott expendable. Allen said he is talking with Alstott, not necessarily about playing with the Bucs next season, but about the future of the team. He promised he'd talk to Alstott as far as his future with the Bucs.

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