Despite media reports that suggest he could be joining his son, Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, as his defensive coordinator in Oakland at the end of the season, Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin seemed interested in staying in Tampa Bay.
Speculation has been running rampant for weeks that Kiffin, whose contract expires at the end of the 2007 season, could join his son’s coaching staff in 2008. That speculation was amplified even more by the fact that Lane Kiffin let defensive coordinator Rob Ryan out of his contract earlier this week.
“No, I’m not in a contract right now,” Monte Kiffin, whose Buccaneers host the New York Giants in an NFC Wild Card game on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, told the Tampa Bay media. “Whatever happened in Oakland has nothing to do with me just because of the [last name] Kiffin. Believe me. I am totally concentrating on the New York Giants. I love the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I love Tampa. I love my son, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I really haven’t talked about it [with Lane]. I’ll be honest with you. I can’t tell you anything more than that. Somebody asked me a couple of weeks ago … what happened with Lane and his defensive staff you know – that’s Lane’s decision. Believe me, it’s not just the New York Giants or the playoffs. If the season were over right now I’d tell you the same thing. I’m focused on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is true that I’m not under contract, but that’s a whole different deal.”
The 67-year old Kiffin, whose defense finished second in the NFL in total defense in 2007, said that he was hoping to stay in Tampa Bay and continue working with head coach Jon Gruden. Alongside Gruden, Kiffin, who joined the Buccaneers under Tony Dungy in 1996, has had the league’s number one-ranked defense twice (2002 and 2005) and won Super Bowl XXXVII.
“Yeah, I’ve got a great relationship with Jon,” Kiffin said. “We started this in 2002 and I knew Jon before 2002. I knew Jon when he was with the Oakland Raiders. He would come back to the beach at Reddington Beach and we would talk football. I hope it continues that way.”
Not only was Kiffin downplaying any interest in the Oakland vacancy, he was almost politicking to get a new contract so he could stay in Tampa Bay.
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