Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards has implied that the Buccaneers cheated in free agency by tampering with free agent center Jeff Faine, according to a report in the March 25 edition of the Kansas City Star. The Bucs agreed to terms with Faine on a six-year, $37.5 million contract that included a $12 million signing bonus just after midnight during the start of free agency on Friday, February 29.

The signing of Faine to a deal that made him the NFL's highest-paid center was reported within the first hour of free agency.

The Chiefs were also interested in signing free agent kicker Josh Brown, but he was quickly signed to a contract by the Rams after visiting St. Louis before he was able to visit Kansas City. Edwards, who coached Tampa Bay’s defensive backs from 1996-2000, also implies that the Rams tampered.

“There were probably some deals done before (the start of the league year),” Edwards told the Kansas City Star when asked why the Chiefs didn’t get in the game with either player. “We didn’t cheat. We abided by the rules. That’s how you’re supposed to do it, and that’s what we did.”

“You’d have to ask Tampa,” Edwards told the Kansas City Star when asked whether the Bucs were in early on Faine. “I don’t know what Tampa did.”

This report comes on the heels of the NFL stripping San Francisco of its fifth-round draft pick and forcing the 49ers to swap third-round picks with the Bears in the 2008 NFL Draft over tampering issues involving Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs.

The Buccaneers have yet to officially comment on Edwards' implications, but did refer PewterReport.com to an article in the March 3 edition of the Kansas City Star in which Edwards previous statements may contradict his statements in Tuesday's newspaper:

"The Chiefs never even got that far with their two top free-agent priorities: former New Orleans center Jeff Faine and former Seattle kicker Josh Brown. Neither agreed to meet with the Chiefs before signing elsewhere, Faine with Tampa Bay and Brown with St. Louis.

Edwards defended that failure, indicating the Chiefs didn't believe Faine was worth the kind of money he was paid by the Buccaneers. He also said Brown preferred to kick in the controlled atmosphere of the Rams' dome rather than in Arrowhead Stadium's unpredictable conditions.

'You know when you go into free agency that you aren't going to get them all," Edwards said. "You wish you would have gotten another guy or two. But we didn't. In the end, does it make you better if you had gotten those guys? Maybe a little bit. The way we're approaching it, we're going to be OK if we didn't get anybody in free agency.'"

Want the inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2008 offseason plans? Want to find out who the Bucs are targeting in free agency and the NFL Draft this year? Subscribe to PewterReport.com's Pewter Insider by clicking here.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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