The Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff will spend this week preparing to coach dozens of top NFL Draft prospects in the Senior Bowl next week. Defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin, the only Tampa Bay assistant coach currently without a contract, will be at the Senior Bowl, but will it be as a member of the Bucs’ staff or as a free agent coach at the event also known as the NFL job fair?

“His situation will be resolved one way or another before the Senior Bowl,” said Brian Levy, Tomlin’s agent. “He’ll be there coaching for the Bucs or he’ll be there looking for a job. He’s without a contract, but we’ve been talking with the Bucs. We’re going to continue to keep talking with them and hopefully we’ll come up with some sort of a resolution one way or another in the very near future.

“I would like to think that (something will happen this week). We’re all of the opinion that we would like to come to some sort of an understanding sooner rather than later.”

Tomlin, who has a great rapport with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and the other Bucs coaches, appears to be in no hurry to leave Tampa Bay where he lead the secondary to a number one ranking this season. But Bucs general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden have established a practice of not letting assistant coaches out of their contracts to take coordinator jobs – only head coaching positions – and that is probably one of the concerns Tomlin, who has coordinator and head coach aspirations, has in signing a long-term contract extension.

“That’s certainly part of the consideration,” Levy said. “I always feel that anytime you have the opportunity to at least educate yourself as to what is out there, you owe it to yourself to do that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Buccaneers or for Mike. He’s a young coach and he has his entire career ahead of him. He’s curious and he’s willing to listen to everything at this point. But obviously, his first intention will be to return to the Bucs.”

There are only two NFL head coaching vacancies in the NFL in San Francisco and Cleveland and opportunities for Tomlin to land a defensive coordinator job appear to be limited.

“I think what’s going to happen is that there are still a couple of situations that need to be sorted through,” Levy said. “We’re just trying to be patient and not make a mistake and miss something that might be out there. Not that we’re being aggressive and looking. We’re still trying to work things out with the Buccaneers and come to some sort of an understanding financially, so that there’s no reason to think he won’t be back.”

In other Bucs coaching news, as first reported last week, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Muir is under contract with the Pewter Pirates in 2005 and will be back in Tampa Bay next season.

Also, new Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis wanted to have Bucs special teams coach Richard Bisaccia serve on his staff, but apparently was denied permission to leave as he is under contract with Tampa Bay in 2005.

If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ‘ offseason plans regarding roster changes, free agency and the NFL Draft with a Pewter Insider premium subscription. uccaneers merchandise in the world.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for 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:
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