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All pleased with resolution of Alstott deal

By GREG AUMAN and ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times
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published April 21, 2002

TAMPA -- It has been an offseason of change in the Bucs offense, but one thing will remain constant: the power-running style of veteran Mike Alstott.

Saying he wanted to stay in the Tampa Bay area and finish his career in his adopted home, Alstott said Saturday he is happy to put negotiations behind him and help the Bucs win a Super Bowl.

"It's finished," Alstott said. "Both sides really did a great job of trying to get things going, it took some time but I thought it was really an excellent job by both parties as far as being patient and working together.

"When you build something with the teammates you have, the core teammates, you don't want to leave. ... It's tough to leave. I know it's a business, there's a business side to football and sometimes there's change. But for me to stay here ... it is an honor."

Alstott signed a four-year, $8-million extension Friday night that came with a $2.5-million signing bonus. His contract contains a no-trade clause, ensuring Alstott finishes his career with the Bucs, he said.

Under the terms of Alstott's former contract, the five-time Pro Bowl player was to make $4-million this season and $6-million the next. But having to share carries with newly acquired running back Michael Pittman, Alstott's high salary became a cap problem for the Bucs.

As part of his $4-million salary this season, Alstott was due a $2-million roster bonus on April 15 before his agents and the Bucs agreed to postpone the deadline to April 23. The Bucs were faced with a choice of signing him to a more salary-cap friendly deal or releasing him outright.

Coach Jon Gruden said he is not worried about the challenge of keeping both backs happy.

"We're in the business of winning football games, not fantasy football games," Gruden said. "I don't care what it says on the back of a player's football card. Mike is a hell of a football player, a hell of a teammate and a punishing runner."

Alstott, 28, said he's ready to do whatever Gruden asks.

"I'm going to block, I'm going to catch, I'm going to run, I'm going to do everything," he said. "I told Coach, "Whatever you need me for, let me know. I'm there for you.' ... I just want to be on the field. I want to contribute."

OUCH: The draft wasn't kind to the free agents who left the Bucs this offseason, as their new teams used first-round picks at their positions. Atlanta's Warrick Dunn saw the Falcons select running back T.J. Duckett, St. Louis' Jamie Duncan saw the Rams take linebacker Robert Thomas and the Jets' Steve White saw New York draft defensive end Bryan Thomas.

JUST MOVE UP, BABY: What did the Raiders do with the first- and second-round picks acquired from the Bucs for Gruden? The Raiders traded up twice from the Bucs' initial pick, 21st overall, giving up a third- and fifth-round pick to get Miami cornerback Phillip Buchanon with the 17th pick. Oakland used the second-rounder (53rd overall) on California tackle Langston Walker.

GET THE MAN A SHIRT: Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice appeared with a number of current players on a segment of ESPN's draft-day broadcast. Rice caused heads to turn at One Buc Place, however, because he was wearing a Steelers jersey, the No. 32 once worn by Franco Harris. All other players in the segment, which included Raiders receiver Tim Brown, were in street clothes.

ON THE CLOCK EARLY: General manager Rich McKay was among 1,400 runners in the second annual Draft Day Dash, which started at 9 a.m. and ended at Raymond James Stadium. Eric Hall of Tampa was the first to finish the 5K run, in 16 minutes, 4 seconds, and Vicki Stum was the first woman in at 18:04. McKay's time was not released, though he finished ahead of Bucs mascot Captain Fear. "I wasn't going to lose to Captain Fear under any circumstances," McKay said. "If I saw him ahead of me and knew that he was going to beat me, I'd trip him."


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  • All pleased with resolution of Alstott deal
  • Things will heat up today

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