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Mularkey ponders Bucs as an option
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER, Times Staff Writer
Published January 24, 2008
MOBILE, Ala. - One-time Bills coach and recently fired Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey might not remain unemployed long.
On Wednesday, Mularkey, 46, was contemplating offers to become Bucs quarterbacks coach or Falcons offensive coordinator. He met with coach Jon Gruden over breakfast Tuesday.
Asked about his future while at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday, Mularkey said only, "I've got some decisions to make." Mularkey, who was a tight end at Florida in the early '80s and began his NFL coaching career in 1994 as an assistant with the Bucs under Sam Wyche, said plans were in place for him to arrive in Tampa this afternoon, perhaps for a more formal interview. That could change if he chooses to join the Falcons.
It's believed proximity to his family in South Florida is a factor. He resigned as Bills coach after two seasons in 2006, citing personal and family reasons.
The Atlanta job would be appealing because of the prestige of being a coordinator. But Mularkey would be entering a less stable situation with Atlanta, which hired first-time head coach Mike Smith on Wednesday night. The former Jacksonville defensive coordinator takes over a 4-12 team that ranked 23rd in total offense and started three quarterbacks.
In Tampa, Mularkey would assume a position that arguably has more influence on the offense than anyone other than Gruden. It also would afford him the chance to work with a veteran quarterback, Jeff Garcia, and enjoy some measure of security after Gruden's contract was extended this week through 2011.
The job is open because indications are Paul Hackett will retire after more than three decades in coaching.
The Bucs are still looking for a running backs coach and are believed to have a preferred candidate. Gruden indicated this week he was planning to interview an assistant-coach candidate who would be something of a household name, though he gave no clues as to the identity.
ALSTOTT'S FAREWELL: Fullback Mike Alstott will make it official today when the team holds a 10 a.m. news conference during which a retirement announcement is expected. Alstott, 34, played 12 seasons in Tampa Bay, going to six Pro Bowls and setting a franchise record with 71 touchdowns. It's unclear whether he might remain in another capacity.