Three assistants return; No Kiffin -- yet
Offensive line coach Bill Muir, receivers Richard Mann and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia are back in the fold for the Bucs.
The big news, however, is who isn't: defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
General manager Bruce Allen revealed in a just-completed news conference the Bucs have re-signed three of their assistant coaches. They also have tendered an offer to Kiffin, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the month, but conversations with Kiffin's agent, Jimmy Sexton, are ongoing.
Allen wouldn't characterize the status of the talks, deferring those questions to Sexton, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Kiffin also declined to comment when reached this afternoon.
Kiffin, Allen said, "really is a fixture and an important part of the Buccaneers and he has said he wants to come back. Coach Gruden has said he wants to come back. We'll let him work on his timetable."
Allen also confirmed that Tampa Bay had granted permission to the Rams to interview running backs coach Art Valero, who is expected to accept an offer from St. Louis. Regarding assistant offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, Allen seemed optimistic about the chances of his return and said the two will meet over the weekend.
Regarding the future of coach Jon Gruden, Allen wouldn't offer many specifics, but said the first priority was the expiring contracts of the assistants. Gruden has another season left on his contract.
Asked whether he had any doubt Gruden would be the coach in 2008, Allen emphatically said, "No."