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Bucs offensive line coach could be leaving for Cowboys
By RICK STROUD
Published January 9, 2005
TAMPA - Bill Muir came to Tampa Bay believing he would be working with Bill Parcells.
Three years later, the Bucs offensive line coach may be finally hooking up with the Big Tuna in Dallas.
Parcells fired offensive line coach George Warhop on Friday, fueling speculation that Muir will soon be hired for that position with the Cowboys.
Muir, 61, signed a three-year deal with the Bucs in 2002, shortly before Parcells reneged on a contract to coach in Tampa Bay and several weeks before the team traded for coach Jon Gruden.
Under Muir, considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL, the Bucs have struggled running the football, finishing 27th, 24th and 29th in rushing offense.
Bucs general manager Bruce Allen confirmed Thursday that defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin was not the only assistant whose contract has expired. When asked if Bill Muir was under contract, Allen said, "I won't get into all the coaches."
Muir could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Warhop, 43, had one season remaining on his contract. He met with Parcells Friday afternoon at the club's Valley Ranch training facility, where he learned he would not be returning.
Parcells indicated he had not finalized decisions on his Cowboys staff. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Sunday that Muir could be headed to Dallas.
With the Cowboys, Muir would have some material to work with. Former first-round pick Flozell Adams played in his first Pro Bowl last season and Larry Allen was named to his ninth Pro Bowl.
Rookie Julius Jones rushed for more than 800 yards and seven touchdowns in only seven starts.
Muir worked for the Jets from 1995 until 2001. At that time, he had a clause inserted in his contract that allowed him to leave the Jets if Parcells came out of retirement.
Gruden promoted Muir to offensive coordinator, a ceremonial title that essentially prevented him from changing teams while under contract with the Bucs.
Muir was considered a miracle worker in his first season with the Bucs, helping them win a Super Bowl with a patchwork offensive line. But the unit has not made much improvement despite a changing cast.
Last season, acquiring veteran free agents like Todd Steussie, Matt Stinchcomb and Derrick Deese didn't pay off.
"We need to coach better, certainly," Gruden said Monday. "The offensive line is an area we will evaluate carefully, what options we do have. We'll do everything we can to get better."