By RICK STROUD
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001
TAMPA -- Fans of quarterback Shaun King won't have to keep a bedroom television tuned to the NFL draft today.
Tampa Bay has no -- repeat, no -- plans to trade the former Tulane and Gibbs High star.
The King-for-a-song trade rumors have been in the air more than pollen lately.
Since the Bucs signed free agent Brad Johnson and acquired Ryan Leaf off waivers, King has been expected to last about as long as a cold front in Tampa Bay.
But King, who is in probably the best shape of his life, is working hard in the off-season program and has adopted a positive attitude. He's not going anywhere. Same goes for Leaf and probably Joe Hamilton and Ted White.
"We have no intent of doing it," general manager Rich McKay said of a quarterback trade. "I don't anticipate it. I have absolutely no intent of doing it. I would hope they wouldn't call us because we're not interested in it.
"We're ready to go. Ryan has been here and worked hard. Shaun has been here and is in great shape. Things have been good. Don't look for that. We like the situation."
DANDY AT VANDY: Thought Penn State was Linebacker U?
Check out Vanderbilt, which has placed two linebackers on the Bucs roster: Jamie Duncan and Shelton Quarles. Today or Sunday, they could make it three.
Tampa Bay is extremely interested in Commodores linebacker Jamie Winborn. At 5 feet 11, 223 pounds and fast, he fits the mode of Tampa Bay's other run stoppers.
Against elite competition in the Southeastern Conference, Winborn was at his best. Last season, he had 20 tackles against South Carolina, 15 against Florida and 17 against Tennessee.
BYE, BYE CHIDI: The release Friday of defensive end Chidi Ahanotu ended his respectable eight-season career in Tampa Bay. A sixth-round draft pick by the Bucs in 1993, Ahanotu was an overachiever designated as the team's franchise player in '99. But after signing a six-year contract, he recorded just 10 sacks in two seasons, including 31/2 last season.
This season, his salary-cap figure of more than $5-million would've been the second-highest on the team -- too much for an unproductive player.
The signing of free agent Simeon Rice all but sealed Ahanotu's fate, not his well-known locker room feud with defensive tackle Warren Sapp. The Bucs waited to see whether there was remote interest in a trade before releasing him.
SPORTING PRAISE: The Bucs were the only organization to receive an A from the Sporting News, which graded all NFL teams on the past five drafts.
Jacksonville rated the next best with an A-minus.
The magazine heaped praise on McKay, coach Tony Dungy and director of player personnel Jerry Angelo, saying Tampa Bay has "one of the most underrated front offices" in the NFL.
"They rarely miss on a high draft pick," the magazine wrote.