An old friend
Remember Dexter Jackson, the former Bucs safety and one-time Super Bowl MVP?
Well, he remembers the Bucs well. And he hasn't forgotten the team's decision not to re-sign him, leaving him on the market where he secured a four-year, $7.6-million deal with Cincinnati, which visits Tampa on Sunday.
The usually mild-mannered Jackson lashed out, particularly at coach Jon Gruden, in a candid interview with the Cincinnati media this week.
"I think (Gruden) just takes stuff for granted," Jackson said. "It hurt. I was only MVP of the Super Bowl, and when it came down to negotiations, guys like (defensive coordinator Monte) Kiffin really pushed hard for me, but (Gruden) wanted to go in a different direction."
Jackson said it looks like some of the Bucs' personnel decisions are "backfiring" considering the continued slide of the defense this season. He said he has heard from former teammates that the Bucs miss his leadership.
"Taking nothing away from (Derrick) Brooks and Ronde (Barber)," Jackson said. "They're leaders, but to a certain extent. You can't be a leader just when you're playing good. You have to be a leader when you're playing bad also. I was the person if you weren't playing good to say, 'Okay guys, let's pick it up.'"
He added: "When you watch film, there's a lot of long runs (against the Bucs). There were some long runs (last season), but not 60-yard touchdowns. Who is back deep? It's like a spade is a spade. You can only hide the truth for so long. It comes to light."
Jackson hopes to return to the lineup this week after missing the past two weeks with an ankle injury.