MIAMI — In his most frank comments since the Bucs released him a year ago after 14 seasons, former All-Pro linebacker Derrick Brooks says the franchise lacks commitment to players and staff.
"All the coaches are obviously on one-year deals, and the economics of the game (a potential 2011 lockout) forced that hand," Brooks said Wednesday in Miami for Super Bowl week. "But … they don't have a core group of (players with contracts) beyond three or four years."
Brooks said multiyear deals help develop leaders. "The guy that was told to be the leader of the defense (linebacker Barrett Ruud), no one showed him any long-term commitment (his contract expires this month). How can he really embrace that role? … I fielded a lot of phone calls from guys … because they missed that presence."
Brooks said the most common complaint from former teammates was about the decision to switch from the Tampa 2 defense. That ended with coach Raheem Morris stripping coordinator Jim Bates of play-calling duties in November and taking on the role. The Bucs improved, but the damage had been done. They finished 3-13.
Brooks said he counseled players to continue to respond to Morris, whom he called a great hands-on coach and teacher, even after their 0-7 start. "That was my message more than anything." For more of Brooks' comments, go to blogs.tampabay.com/bucs.
Bucs close on receivers coach
The Bucs were close to finalizing a deal to make Eric Yarber their receivers coach. Yarber, who had a brief stint as a Redskins receiver in the 1980s, worked as an offensive assistant at Arizona State for the past three seasons. He would replace Richard Mann, whose contract won't be renewed.
Gaines Adams death: Toxicology tests performed on former Bucs and Bears defensive end Gaines Adams found no additional factors that contributed to his Jan. 17 death, said Marcia Kelley Clark, chief deputy coroner of Greenwood County, S.C. Two autopsies concluded that Adams went into cardiac arrest because of an enlarged heart.
Burress interview: Former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, in a New York prison after pleading guilty to a gun charge related to him shooting himself at a nightclub, gave an interview to Bill Cowher, his coach when he was a Steeler, that will air on CBS's Super Bowl pregame show Sunday. "I think you will see he blames no one but himself and is very genuine in his feeling," said Cowher, now a CBS analyst.
owner: teams struggling financially: Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said several teams face financial shortfalls that could create "long-term problems" and result in a 2011 lockout without player concessions in a new deal with the union.
Eagles: Former Bills and Bears coach Dick Jauron was hired as defensive backs coach.
jets: The league won't penalize coach Rex Ryan for his obscene gesture to fans at a mixed martial arts event in Sunrise on Saturday. The Jets fined Ryan $50,000.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.