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Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut safety Tanard Jackson, expressing disappointment with growth on and off field

TAMPA — After missing 56 weeks serving his second suspension from the NFL, safety Tanard Jackson carried the Buccaneers flag out of the tunnel during introductions as a starter against the Saints in October, just days after being re-signed.

He recorded two interceptions in as many games and got a two-year contract extension.

But Tuesday, it became apparent that Jackson isn't the kind of player that new coach Greg Schiano wants as a symbol of his regime.

The Bucs released Jackson Tuesday morning, claiming a failed physical as the official reason for terminating his contract.

Jackson, who played the 2011 season with a torn rotator cuff and strains in both hamstrings, had shoulder surgery three months ago and should be cleared to play June 1.

But general manager Mark Dominik said the Bucs weren't happy with Jackson's growth on and off the field.

Jackson missed the first week of the voluntary offseason program and said he had been rehabbing his injured shoulder in Maryland and New Orleans.

"What's important to us as an organization is the growth of our football players and how they handle (things) on and off the field to become the best Buccaneer possible," Dominik said Tuesday. "And that's what we're looking for."

Jackson, 26, was shocked by his release but said he has no hard feelings toward the organization that stood by him through a series of suspensions.

"I was a little shocked, but the person I am, I accept how it comes," he told the Tampa Bay Times. "I realize it's a business. It's hard to be too upset with the decision because of what I've been through, and I have no hard feelings toward the organization and wish them the best."

Jackson was suspended for the first four games of 2009 for a second violation of the league's substance abuse policy. After playing two games in 2010, he was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Upon being reinstated last October, the Bucs welcomed Jackson back and he started the next game at safety against the Saints, recording an interception and five solo tackles.

Jackson strained a hamstring returning an interception in a loss to the Bears the next week and left the game. He finished the season with 35 tackles and two interceptions.

Dominik said he was unaware of any positive test for a banned substance or impending penalties from the league office.

"It's all about becoming the best Buccaneer possible," Dominik said. "That's what growth is. And we want this football team to accelerate."

Jackson said he has been playing with a bad shoulder since 2009, and last season continued to perform through other injuries.

"Man, my shoulder's been injured since '09 and it's something that I put off and I played through a series of injuries," Jackson said. "Not to make excuses for the way I played, but I had a lot of injuries last year. My body feels good right now. Obviously, there's more work to do, but I'll be ready to play football."

Jackson said he was unaware that the Bucs were unhappy with his decision not to rehab in Tampa Bay.

"I really don't know," Jackson said. "They just said they were going in a different direction."

Now, the only safeties are Cody Grimm, Ahmad Black, Devin Holland and Larry Asante. Only Grimm has started a regular-season NFL game.

The highest-rated safety in a draft shallow at the position is likely Alabama's Mark Barron, projected as a late first-rounder.

Schiano came to the Bucs embracing his reputation as a disciplinarian but saying every player would have a clean slate. But Jackson's fresh start will have to come with another team.

"We obviously talked to Tanard and wished him the best on his future endeavors and with his next organization," Dominik said. "But it's something we felt we wanted to do as an organization and needed to do."

Reports: Parcells says no to Saints job

NEW ORLEANS — Bill Parcells told the Saints that he will not replace Sean Payton as interim coach, according to multiple reports.

Parcells prefers to remain retired and not replace his protege and friend, Sean Payton, who will serve a season-long suspension for his role in a bounty system, the reports said.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel declined Tuesday to confirm Parcells has been ruled out, saying the team "has nothing to report" concerning the search for an interim coach.

Parcells' agent, Jimmy Sexton, also declined comment.

If the Saints select a replacement from their existing staff, the leading candidates are: assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who will serve a six-game suspension; offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.; offensive line coach Aaron Kromer; new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Parcells turns 71 in August. His last coaching job was in 2006 with the Cowboys.

smith stays with panthers: Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith agreed to a three-year extension that will keep him with Carolina through the 2015 season. The deal is worth a reported $18 million in guaranteed money. Smith, who turns 33 next month, said the opportunity to retire as a Panther was "extremely special.''

romo a father: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo became a father for the first time when his wife, Candice Crawford Romo, delivered 8-pound, 8-ounce Hawkins Crawford Romo on Monday.

steelers: Tight end Leonard Pope, 28, signed a one-year deal and will compete to back up Heath Miller.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut safety Tanard Jackson, expressing disappointment with growth on and off field 04/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:36pm]
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