Are the Bucs contemplating coaching changes?

Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers contemplating changes to their offensive coaching staff? Head coach Jon Gruden didn't hint to that on Monday to the media, but there are reports that the Bucs are courting one of his former offensive assistants. Find out who in this premium piece.

Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers contemplating changes to their offensive coaching staff? Head coach Jon Gruden didn't hint to that on Monday to the media, but there are reports that the Bucs are courting one of his former offensive assistants. Find out who in this premium piece.

Jon Gruden is safe. Some of his assistant coaches will get the axe.

The contracts of about two dozen members of the coaching and football support staff are set to expire, including that of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

In a five-minute staff meeting Monday morning, Gruden told coaches to make an appointment with general manager Bruce Allen to discuss their future with the team.

Most of the changes are likely to be made on the offensive staff, where offensive line coach Bill Muir, receivers coach Richard Mann, running backs coach Art Valero and assistant offensive line coach Aaron Kromer are among those without contracts for 2008.

The Bucs (9-8) finished 18th overall in total offense and averaged 20.9 points per game.

In fact, the Bucs already have expressed interest in Bill Callahan, who was fired Nov. 24 after four years at Nebraska after coaching the Cornhuskers to their only losing season in 45 years.

Prior to coming to Nebraska, Callahan succeeded Gruden as the Raiders' head coach for two seasons, losing to the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. Callahan spent four seasons as the Raiders' offensive coordinator under Gruden.

By far, the biggest concern for the Bucs is locking up Kiffin, who will be 69 next month and is among the league's highest-paid coordinators at $1.7 million per year. The Bucs improved from 17th overall in total defense to second this season despite not having a single Pro Bowl player.

Gruden said he expects Kiffin to return to the Bucs.

"I hope so," Gruden said. "Again, there's a lot of things that have to be worked out as you know. But Monte Kiffin is a great friend, a great coach and a hell of a leader."

One thing that might hamper the Bucs' ability to attract coaching candidates is Gruden's current status. He has one more year left on his contract and is likely to get an extension after leading the Bucs to their second NFC South title in three years.

"I don't even really know the status of my contract other than I'm going to fulfill the contract that I signed. I'm going to work as hard as I can to help this team get back to the Super Bowl," Gruden said. "All those issues will take care of themselves. As I said earlier this year, this is the best job in football. I'm fortunate to have the job and I'm content and I'm working hard at it."

The SportsXchange contributed to this report.


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