Bucs stop here
Tampa Bay lures head coach Gruden away from OaklandPosted: Monday February 18, 2002 1:40 PM
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Monday that Jon Gruden has accepted a five-year contract to be the seventh head coach in franchise history. A source told CNNSI.com that the deal is worth an estimated $20 million.
Gruden, the Oakland Raiders' head coach from 1998-2001, reached the AFC Championship Game after the 2000 season. His original contract with the Raiders was set to run through the 2002 season.
The Buccaneers will introduce Gruden, 38, at a news conference in Tampa on Wednesday.
The terms of the compensation the Bucs paid Oakland in order to get Gruden out of the final year of his contract are two first-round and two second-round picks, plus $8 million spread over three years from Tampa Bay. The No. 1 picks will be in 2002 and '03 with the second-round choices coming in '02 and '04.
That package proved more expensive than the proposed compensation that San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci would have cost the Bucs. The Niners and Bucs had agreed on a package of picks that included a first-, second-, third and fourth-rounder during the next two or three years.
It is also believed the deal stipulates Gruden cannot take any of his Raiders assistant coaches with him to Tampa.
Longtime NFL executive Ken Herock is in line to return to Tampa as part of the Bucs' front office. Reached at his Atlanta home Monday afternoon, Herock confirmed to CNNSI.com that he potentially could have a role with the Bucs.
"I'd like to go back there," said Herock, who was Tampa Bay's first director of player personnel from 1976-83. "I don't know what the role is going to be at this point, but I would like to be there in some capacity in personnel."
Herock, 60, could emerge as the Bucs' general manager should current GM Rich McKay be allowed to leave for the GM opening with the Atlanta Falcons, or Herock's title could wind up more along the line of director of football operations or vice president of personnel.
Herock, who has had three stints with the Raiders, served in Oakland's personnel department in 1998, Gruden's first season as the team's head coach. Herock also has worked for the Falcons and Green Bay Packers.
Gruden replaces Tony Dungy, who was fired Jan. 14 after six seasons. Dungy was 54-42 and made the playoffs four times, advancing to the NFC Championship Game in 1999.
"We were determined not to let outside pressures derail us from our goal, which was to find the best person to coach the Buccaneers," Executive Vice President Bryan Glazer said. "Our fans deserve nothing less.
"That person is Jon Gruden, the finest young mind in the game. We took our time and got the man we really wanted, and we couldn't be more thrilled. This was one of the most important decisions in the history of this franchise."
Gruden, the NFL's youngest head coach, has a 40-28 record in four seasons with the Raiders. He led the team to the AFC title game a year ago, and the Raiders lost this year in a second-round game to eventual Super Bowl champion New England after blowing a 10-point lead in the final quarter.
Before Dungy's arrival, the Bucs posted a .307 winning percentage (94-213-1), won 10 games in a season once and made three playoff appearances in 20 seasons.
Dungy had a .563 regular-season winning percentage, won 10 or more games three times and guided Tampa Bay to its first NFC Central title in 18 years in 1999.
"I think it's a good call," Bucs QB Brad Johnson said Monday afternoon. "I guess it depends on how many draft picks we gave up for him, but I'm excited about it.
"Obviously, he's won and he's got one of the better offensive minds in the league."
Asked how the Bucs' personnel fit into Gruden's version of the West Coast offense, Johnson said: "I think he's a great fit. It still comes down to having guys who make plays, but with this system you'll see a lot more personnel changes, shifts and motions in order to find mismatches.
"I know I'm ready to learn from him. I think he can make me better, I think he can make us better. I think he'll make a big difference."
The Buccaneers met with Mariucci on Sunday regarding the head-coaching position, but both parties agreed that it would be best for he and his family to remain in San Francisco.
Mariucci was at least the eighth candidate the Glazers had approached in the past month, beginning with Bill Parcells, who turned down an offer to come out of retirement. McKay then made an unsuccessful bid to lure Gruden from the Raiders and the Glazers vetoed McKay's plan to hire former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.
McKay, who also interviewed LSU's Nick Saban, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and former Washington Redskins head coach Norv Turner, was infuriated by the decision to not give the job to Lewis.
The embattled general manager interviewed Thursday for the Atlanta Falcons' GM job.
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks contributed to this report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.