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Tampa Bay Buccaneers team captain, center Jeff Faine says Raheem Morris should return as coach

TAMPA — At 1-12, coach Raheem Morris is on the hot seat, but he says he can stand the heat. Meanwhile, he seems to still have support in his locker room.

Asked Wednesday if he believed Morris should be retained, C Jeff Faine, a team captain, said he deserves another shot.

"One hundred percent," Faine said. "I think any time you're drafting a quarterback in the first round, you have to give it an opportunity to see some maturation at that position. That position is so key, I think without seeing some true light on that, I think it's very unfair for him to get the hook at this point."

Faine was referring to rookie Josh Freeman, who has started six games since taking over at midseason.

Morris deflected the speculation.

"That is not my job to worry about my future," Morris said. "That's for mentally weak people. My job is to coach the football team, week in and week out. I have to go and beat Seattle (on Sunday). And then I have to go and beat the following team after that. Job security in this business, in case you haven't looked around, there is a ticking clock every day.

"If I wanted to worry about that, I wouldn't be coaching. I'd go be a reporter."

SMITH COPING: Kick returner and RB Clifton Smith, placed on injured reserve last week after his second concussion in seven weeks, said he feels "perfectly fine" and was adamant his second injury was not as serious as the one Oct. 18.

Smith said the decision to go on injured reserve was made solely by team doctors and for precautionary reasons.

"They pretty much were scared just because it's the second one, so they really didn't know how I was going to react to it," he said. "But as the game went along, I knew what was going on, and I knew what happened.

"If it was up to me, I'd be playing."

DUAL ROLE: OT Demar Dotson could see time at tight end with blocking TE John Gilmore in danger of missing Sunday's game with a head injury. Dotson saw some time as a blocker Dec. 6 at Carolina. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said blocking breakdowns by tight ends have contributed to failures in the running game.

INJURY UPDATE: LB Geno Hayes (hamstring) returned to practice after missing Sunday's game. WR Sammie Stroughter also missed the game but participated on a limited basis. DT Roy Miller (ankle) was limited. WR Michael Clayton (knee) has missed two games and still hasn't returned.

Seahawks lose receiver: Seattle WR Nate Burleson won't play Sunday and might miss the rest of the season with a high right ankle sprain. He was hurt Sunday against the Texans when a helmet hit the ankle during a punt return.

Times staff writers Rick Stroud and Joe Smith and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers team captain, center Jeff Faine says Raheem Morris should return as coach 12/16/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:13pm]

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