Although they're not coaching the North or South squad this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still are represented well at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala.
In addition to Tampa Bay's scouts, head coach Jon Gruden, general manager Bruce Allen, director of pro personnel Mark Dominik, senior assistant Kevin Demoff and personnel executive Doug Williams, all three of the Buccaneers' coordinators are in Mobile, including Monte Kiffin, who signed a multi-year deal to stay in Tampa Bay on Friday.
"I'm excited about being back," Kiffin told PewterReport.com. "We have a good, young defense and it's getting better. I feel good about where the whole football team is right now. There were some things that came up, but when it was all said and done I'm pretty happy with where I wound up."
The Buccaneers extended a contract extension to Kiffin, who is believed to be earning an average of $2 million per year, shortly after their 2007 season came to an end in a 24-14 loss to the New York Giants on Jan. 6.
However, Kiffin waited nearly two weeks to sign the offer from the Buccaneers while he weighed all of his options.
A report in Friday's St. Petersburg Times suggested one of the reasons Kiffin had not yet signed his contract with the Buccaneers was because the team had made a lowball offer to the 67-year-old coach.
However, Kiffin deemed that report erroneous when asked about its validity on Monday.
"That's totally wrong," said Kiffin. "I'm not going to get into how all the negotiations went, but that's totally wrong. I'm just excited to be back."
Kiffin spent nearly two weeks weighing his options, which included some other job opportunities, one of which came about last minute, which he said he had to consider.
"There were some other opportunities there that I thought it was right to consider," said Kiffin. "I'm excited how things turned out."
Although he would not give details of the other job opportunities he was considering, Kiffin was rumored to possibly join his son, Lane, who is the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2008. There was also speculation that Kiffin might join his friend Pete Carroll, the head coach of USC, as the defensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, but Carroll appears to be staying at USC while the Falcons continue their coaching search.
ESPN.com also reported that the Washington Redskins had discussed the possibility of hiring Kiffin as the team's defensive coordinator.
Kiffin has presided over Tampa Bay's defense since joining the team in 1996. The architect of the Tampa 2 zone defensive scheme, Kiffin's defense finished last season ranked No. 2 overall after falling to 17th in 2006.
Over his 12 seasons in Tampa Bay, Kiffin's defenses have been ranked in the top 10 in 10 of those seasons, including No. 1 overall in 2002, which is when the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII.
One of the things Kiffin and the Buccaneers will do in Mobile is search for assistant defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake's successor. Lake became the Detroit Lions' defensive backs coach last week.
"I've got to meet with Coach Gruden and we're going to have to see where we're at as far as that situation goes," said Kiffin. "We want to make sure we take our time and make the best decision. I'm sure that's one of the things we'll be doing here."
The Buccaneers are also in the process of attempting to re-sign quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett and senior assistant/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.
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