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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Mike Sullivan drawn to Bucs because of Josh Freeman



Fresh off his second Super Bowl title since 2007, Mike Sullivan had plenty of incentive to remain as the Giants' quarterbacks coach.

But he said when the Bucs came calling with a chance to be their offensive coordinator, there was one particular reason the job seemed irresistable.

"I’ll be honest with you," Sullivan said today at One Buc Place, "the attraction (was) having an opportunity to work with a special talent like Josh Freeman."

Sullivan was hired by the Bucs on Friday, succeeding Greg Olson as the team's offensive coordinator. The old scheme is likely to change substantially, but Sullivan is confident the Bucs can have produce good outcomes largely because of who lines up under center.

"I think, as everyone knows, it’s a quarterback-driven league," he said. "No matter how you slice it. . . you’ve got to have a quarterback. I think a lot of the things you look at with Josh Freeman -- the skill set that he possesses, the youth, the ability, the size, the strength -- there’s an awful lot there that I’m just champing at the bit to work with."

Sullivan also referenced the backfield (likely running back LeGarrette Blount) and "a veteran offensive line" as elements that also appealed to him.

Regarding his preparedness to become an NFL offensive coordinator for the first time, the long-time position coach said his ability to work in a key capacity under Giants coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordiantor Kevin Gilbride -- he called them "two of the best offensive minds in the game" -- makes him ready for the challenge.

"Being fortunate enough to have a say and provide input and be a part of the game-planning process. . . I think one can’t help but accumulate all that knowledge. Ultimately, it comes to a situation where, you have your chance and you rely upon on some of your instincts and your training."

Sullivan offered much thanks to Coughlin and the Giants for allowing him to pursue the job in Tampa Bay. Sullivan was still under contract witih the Giants and, per league rules, could have been blocked from interviewing.

"I’m extremely grateful and will forever remember the fact that Coach Coughlin was the one who gave me an opportunity at Jacksonville," Sullivan said. "He gave me a chance to come up to New York and coach receivers. He gave me a chance to coach the quarterbacks. I’m forever going to be in debt to he and (general manager) Jerry Reese for allowing me to pursue this incredible opportunity."

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:00pm]


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