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Ex-coach makes return to Tampa
By RICK STROUD and STEPHEN F. HOLDER
Published September 17, 2005
Sam Wyche is looking forward to returning to Tampa on Sunday and said he has fond memories of his four seasons (1992-95) as Bucs coach.
Wyche, 60, is the Bills' quarterbacks coach under Mike Mularkey, who was on his first staff in Tampa.
"I wished we had won one or two more ballgames, especially in the last year," said Wyche, who went 23-41 with the Bucs (7-9 in 1995). "But in the course of things, watching that team get a little bit better - and I think it did - I never really had a year when I felt like it wasn't an enjoyable effort. We had good coaches, so I think the fond memories are just in general. I don't know if I could tell you one moment that stands out above the others.
"Surprisingly, I hear pretty regularly from the fans who would see us off as we left One Buc Place to get on the buses to go on road trips. We had a pretty loyal following there that was always there when we returned. They've stayed in touch pretty much, and I've been thankful for that. Our friends, we loved Tampa. I still do. It's maybe my favorite place I've ever lived. I just enjoyed the weather and being a private pilot. I enjoyed being able to fly and had more days to do that and just get outdoors. Friends were part of it, but the whole package made Tampa fun for me."
Wyche suffers from cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that he said will force him to undergo a transplant in two to four years.
Doctors originally suspected he had cancer in 1999, and during a biopsy, the nerve to Wyche's vocal cord was cut, ending a promising broadcasting career with CBS.
"The one thing about being sick and being ill with a disease that could take your life is that you really learn not to be looking backwards. Just look forward," Wyche said.
But it's apparent Wyche has not lost his sharp wit and sense of humor.
"I get a rolling review, and that is generally, they say you've got two to four years before we'll have to consider a transplant," Wyche said. "Either that or get your papers in order. Which I think, for the Buffalo Bills is pretty much a win-win because they're selling the idea and could do it even better to get to the game early. Buy more hot dogs, hamburgers and beer because Sam could keel over at any time and you don't want to miss that because they probably won't show it on replay until ESPN that night.
"But I don't think about it. I do get around just like I always did. I'm not limited other than I can't run. I used to love to run that Bayshore Boulevard. I can walk and get exercise. I lift weights, but not as heavy weights. You just adjust, and that's what I've done."
INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Simeon Rice, who missed practice Thursday with a sore elbow, returned Friday and will play against Buffalo. The news was not so promising regarding guard Matt Stinchcomb (back), who was described by coach Jon Gruden as "very, very questionable."