Monte Kiffin questions won't be a distraction to Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jon Gruden says
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden said Monday questions about defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's future with the Bucs will not be a distraction to his first-place team.
Kiffin's son, Lane, will be introduced as the University of Tennessee's head coach at 2 p.m. today. ESPN's Chris Mortensen has reported that Monte Kiffin will join his son's staff.
"A lot of our coaches are sought after every year, and Monte's sought after every year,'' Gruden said during his weekly news conference at One Buc Place. "He should be. I'm not worried about any distractions. We've got a great opportunity ahead of us, and we want to take advantage of it.''
The Bucs (9-3) play the Carolina Panthers (9-3) in a matchup of the NFC South's top teams on Monday.
Regardless of the Tennessee situation, Kiffin will stay with the Bucs through the end of the season, Gruden said.
Kiffin dismissed the ESPN report as ''speculation'' when asked about it following the Bucs' 23-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Gruden declined any further comment on Monday.
''(Questions are) gonna persist,'' Gruden said. "I don't have any update. I think he addressed it last night. Monte's the guy to talk to. I'll just say this. We're excited to win the game, and I can only comment on the Buccaneers.''
* In other Bucs news, defensive linemen Jovan Haye (knee) and Gaines Adams (hip pointer) are being evaluated after sustaining injuries against the Saints, Gruden said.
"I don't kow the exact severity of those injuries yet,'' Gruden said. "But, obviously, we have some concern.''