The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are attempting to resolve several contract situations while attending Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., but they no longer have to worry about two of them.
That's because Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen have each signed three-year contract extensions with the team.
The new deals come as Gruden and Allen were preparing to enter the final years of their respective contracts. Their new contracts, which were scheduled to expire at the end of the 2008 season, now run through 2011.
“I’m very excited, obviously, and very appreciative of the opportunity,” Gruden said. “I have a tremendous amount of respectful for the Glazers and I love Tampa and I love Tampa Bay Buccaneers football. We’re going to do the best we can to get back to the Super Bowl. We’ve got a great nucleus of players, a great salary cap situation and the best facilities. I’m excited about the future. I really am."
“ excited,” Allen said, “We’re in good position. I’ve talked about the infrastructure of the Bucs, which makes you feel very positive for the future. The stadium, the facility, the fans – everything. It’s exciting.
“We’re pleased with the amount of young players we have on this team. I think it’s important for them to grow as players by knowing the expectations that the coaches have for them during the season, but in March, April and May. I think it helps develop the players. The Glazer family believes in that. That’s one of their philosophies and their vision for the franchise. We get to benefit from that.”
Their contract extensions come after Tampa Bay rebounded from a 4-12 season in 2006 to produce a 9-7 regular season record and win the NFC South division title in 2007.
Gruden has won three division titles and a Super Bowl in six seasons with the Buccaneers since joining the team via a blockbuster trade with the Oakland Raiders in 2002.
In addition to accounting for half (three of six) of Tampa Bay's division titles during the Buccaneers' 32 years of existence, Gruden has won five division titles in his 10 seasons as a NFL head coach.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that Jon’s future is extremely exciting,” Allen said.
The Bucs have compiled a 48-48 regular season record under Gruden. The team has also lost its last two playoff games, both of which were at home. That, of course, includes Tampa Bay's 24-14 loss to the New York Giants on Jan. 6.
However, the Gruden-Allen duo has produced two division titles over the past three seasons and since Allen's arrival in 2004.
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