TAMPA — Butch Davis will play a lot of important roles for the Bucs, from evaluating talent for free agency and the draft, to interviewing college players at the combine, to observing the communication between coaches in the press box on game day and advising head coach Greg Schiano. But while Davis may wear a lot of hats, you won't see a whistle around his neck.
In fact, the only thing certain about Davis' role is that it won't involve coaching.
"Obviously, I'm not going to be on the field and in the meetings and actually teaching and coaching and hands-on and those kinds of things," Davis said Thursday, adding that he doesn't know if he is allowed to wear a headset. "I hope players and guys in this organization come and maybe there are things that I can tell them about being a professional, watching film, having a great attitude, just being a kind of a mentor and sounding board for those guys. As far as the actual 'go on the grass' and those sort of things, that's not my role."
Davis, 60, was fired as head coach at North Carolina just before the start of the 2011 season when his football program was found to have committed multiple NCAA rules violations. Because of his $2.7 million settlement with the Tar Hells, Davis cannot coach. The buyout package includes deferred payments of $590,000 each January through 2015. Before accepting the Bucs' position as special assistant to the head coach, Davis checked with the UNC administration to make sure it was okay with the arrangement.
Davis, who has coached for 37 years, said the opportunity to work again with Schiano is what attracted him to the job. Schiano served as Davis' defensive coordinator with the Miami Hurricanes from 1999 to 2000.
"A lot of people have said, 'Why would you want to come and do something like this with Greg?' " Davis said. "And the thing that I've continually told people is Greg is one of the best football coaches and the best men that I've ever had a chance to work with."
Davis has experienced making the transition from college coach to the NFL. He coached the Browns from 2001 to 2004, going 24-34 and reaching the playoffs once. Davis said he made his share of mistakes and hopes to help Schiano avoid some of those pitfalls.
"I've got 10 years experience in the National Football League, and there are so many things within an organization that need attention to detail and one person can't do it all," Davis said.
"I think one of the things I've already shared with Greg a little bit is make sure you understand who you have on your football team before you start adding all the pieces."
Davis said after being fired by the Browns, he volunteered for a similar advisory role with the Chiefs. The night before Schiano decided to leave Rutgers and accept the Bucs job, he phoned Davis and offered him a chance to join him in Tampa Bay.
"This was a great opportunity," Davis said. " It just seemed like this would be a great fit.
"You can impact an organization in a lot of different ways without actually having to have the chalk in your hands and go on the field."
Around the league
Kickoff concussions down: By moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line last season, the NFL reduced head injuries on such plays by 50 percent, said Hunt Batjer, co-chair of the NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee.
No Moss: Vikings GM Rick Spielman said his team needs receivers, but it "will be moving on" without former star Randy Moss, 35, who did not play last season but announced plans for a comeback. "Randy was a great player," Spielman said, "but again our focus is more on trying to get a young team."
Tebow toils: Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is working on his mechanics on the UCLA campus with new Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, the Orange County Register reported. Mazzone, who helped Tebow before his pro day at Florida, is also working with Vikings QB and former FSU standout Christian Ponder.
Portis return? Running back Clinton Portis, 30, who did not play last season after being released by the Redskins, said he wants to play again. The former Hurricanes star suffered a concussion in 2009 and a torn groin in 2010.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.