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Finding assistants one mission of Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. — Bucs coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik will interview candidates at the Senior Bowl for the two remaining spots on their staff — a quarterbacks coach and receivers coach.

"We've got a lot of guys targeted, a lot of guys to interview," Morris said Monday. "We'll do a couple here (in Mobile) and a couple back home. Hopefully, it will be done pretty soon, pretty quickly. … Right now, it's just quarterbacks and receivers."

WR coach Richard Mann is not being retained and has interviewed for a position with the Redskins. There could be other openings. LB coach Joe Barry is a candidate for the Tennessee Volunteers defensive coordinator's position.

"I'm talking to him. Joe Barry is my guy," Morris said.

Tim Berbenich, the assistant receivers coach, apparently is not a candidate to coach quarterbacks.

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Monday that he still will have a large role in developing QB Josh Freeman.

Part of the difficulty hiring a position coach with NFL experience is that the Bucs — and several other NFL teams, for that matter — don't want to offer two-year contracts with the uncertainty of the 2011 season looming as a possible lockout of players by owners.

Football for Cooper: Former Florida WR Riley Cooper decided to give up professional baseball to focus on football.

Cooper, a former standout at Clearwater Central Catholic, told reporters at Senior Bowl practices that he will skip pro baseball this spring. Cooper was a 25th round draft choice by Texas and signed a contract last August.

"I told the Texas Rangers thank you very much, thank you for the opportunity, but I think my mind-set, my mentality is football, so I'm going to do that."

Baseball America reported that he got a $250,000 signing bonus, paid in full — $100,000 more than MLB's recommended maximum for players selected after the fifth round. The Rangers also paid his fall tuition at UF.

Cooper said of the bonus: "I was supposed to pick it up Jan. 17. I was supposed to show up for my physical and get half of my signing bonus check that day."

On the comeback Rhode: Former Florida State S Myron Rolle took a year off football to study at Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship.

But Rolle is at the Senior Bowl this week, trying to prove he can play at the next level. What's more, he had only a month to prepare for workouts. Rolle said Monday that it felt like he had never stopped playing.

"This experience means a tremendous amount; it means I get to come back and play football again and run around with my teammates and get tired," Rolle said.

Rolle was never considered a lock to make it to the NFL. But it's hard not to root for him to fulfill another dream.

"It was a tough decision (to leave football), it was very difficult," Rolle said. " … But ultimately, I'll get my degree from Oxford, I had an opportunity to be a Rhodes scholar, and it's a tremendous honor."

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Finding assistants one mission of Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Senior Bowl 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 11:03pm]

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