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Bear, Colt coaches speak up about the Bucs' denials

By RICK STROUD
Published February 20, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - Soft-spoken Bears coach Lovie Smith had some sharp words for the Bucs on Thursday for denying defensive line coach Rod Marinelli the opportunity to become his defensive coordinator in Chicago.

"I've never been one who has thought you should stop a guy from advancing," Smith said. "That part of it was frustrating.

"I'm here today because (five) years ago Tony Dungy allowed me to leave to become a defensive coordinator (with the Rams). I just don't think it's fair to keep someone from an opportunity they've worked for."

The Bucs also denied linebackers coach Joe Barry permission to interview for the Cardinals' defensive coordinator position.

For Marinelli, it was the fourth time he had been passed over for a promotion in two years - including twice with the Jets and with the Colts.

"When I left, I asked Joel Glazer if he would give me any of the three (Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli or Joe Barry) because I wanted to put our system in," Dungy said. "They said, "No.' They look at it a different way. It's like (Falcons owner) Arthur Blank saying why would Home Depot help our competition by giving them one of our best employees.

"In Rod's case, it could hurt him because that's the quickest way to become a head coach.

"Now there's three other defensive coordinator jobs filled, and he doesn't have one."

Dungy said he understands both sides of the issue but still would never prevent an assistant from taking a coordinator's position with another team.

"That rule is really a very, very difficult two-way street," Dungy said, "because you certainly can see the management side of things protecting their investment in coaches that work for them."

Smith said he never will change his stance on the issue.

"What if Bill Walsh had held all his coaches?" Smith said. "People say I'm a young coach, just wait until it happens to you. Well, hold me to it."

DOUG IN: Doug Williams showed up for his first full day of work with the Bucs since being hired as a pro personnel executive. His focus is helping evaluate college offensive linemen and running backs for the draft.

Williams appeared relieved that the ordeal that ensued after he left as coach of Grambling State was behind him.

A delegation led by University of Louisiana System president Dr. Sally Clausen failed in an attempt Tuesday to have Williams released from his contract with the Bucs.

"I was pretty stressed about it really after I got back to Grambling that Friday," Williams said. "Sally is a very persistent lady. If I ever have a contract situation, I want her to represent me."

DUNGY HONORED: Dungy was the recipient of the Tank Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance at a breakfast at the Hyatt.

"It really was neat from my perspective," Dungy said. "When I came along in the league in '77 and as a coach in '81, there were not many minorities involved in coaching or the front office, and Tank Younger was one of those who tried to help everyone."

Dungy also said he supported expanding the league's policy for interviewing minority candidates to include front-office employees.

BUCS BITS: GM Bruce Allen arrived, and coach Jon Gruden is expected at the combine today. ... The Bucs may have a larger backup quarterback pool from which to pick. The Bears are expected to release quarterback Kordell Stewart.

CHIEFS: Running back Larry Johnson must perform community service and attend anger-management courses for charges he threatened an ex-girlfriend with a gun to be dropped in Olathe, Kan.

RAVENS: The league is suing Orlando Brown for $500,000, claiming the offensive tackle owes money because he returned after receiving an injury settlement for being hit in the eye with a penalty flag in 1999.

REDSKINS: Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell agreed to a seven-year, $43-million deal, clearing the way for a trade next month. Brunell will receive an $8.6-million signing bonus. Brunell is expected to displace Patrick Ramsey as the starter.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

[Last modified February 20, 2004, 01:31:57]


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