TAMPA — The last time former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman made headlines in Tampa Bay, he was going after Warren Sapp, angry about the Bucs defensive tackle's hit that injured offensive lineman Chad Clifton far away from an interception return.
As Sherman approached Sapp on the sideline after the game, the Bucs defensive tackle bellowed, "If you're so tough, put a jersey on!"
Sherman, 57, will be returning to Tampa Bay soon hoping to wear a headset for the Bucs.
Sherman confirmed Tuesday he has been contacted by the Bucs but declined further comment. An interview is being scheduled, Sherman said.
"I prefer not to make any comment about that just yet," Sherman said Tuesday when reached by the Times. "I hope you understand."
One day after the team fired coach Raheem Morris and his staff, the Bucs' candidate list began to take shape.
Co-chairman Joel Glazer said Monday the Bucs would not pigeonhole candidates, which includes NFL coordinators and college coaches.
"It's easy to say you want a leader with discipline and all these different things," Glazer said. "But I'm not going to characterize it one way or another. We want a person who we feel will represent this team well, represent community well and get our players progressing.
"I'm not going to put any artificial deadlines on this. We're going to talk to people until we find the right person and when we find the right person and there's the right chemistry and the right belief on what that person stands for, for this franchise and working relationships with the general manager and everyone in the organization, that's when we'll make the decision."
While it might be a level playing field, several intriguing candidates have NFL head coaching experience.
Former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher interviewed Tuesday with the Miami Dolphins, and the Bucs are working with Fisher on scheduling an interview, perhaps this week. Fisher is also considered a strong candidate for the St. Louis Rams.
The Bucs plan to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who has been instrumental in developing quarterback Matt Ryan. Mularkey began his coaching career in Tampa Bay in 1992 as an offensive quality control assistant under Sam Wyche. He was the Buffalo Bills head coach from 2004-05, resigning with a 14-18 record.
The Jacksonville Jaguars received permission to interview Mularkey, whose focus is preparing for a playoff game against the Giants.
Tennessee defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is also on the Bucs' list, but the team had not formally asked for permission from the Titans. Gray played with the Bucs in '93 and worked under Fisher in Tennessee.
In six seasons with the Packers, with Brett Favre in his prime at quarterback, Sherman went 57-39 and won three NFC North titles. He was fired in 2005 after the Packers went 4-12, their first losing season since 1991.
Sherman was 25-25 in four seasons at Texas A&M, with two bowl appearances. He is an offensive play-caller who spent two seasons with the Houston Texans before joining the Aggies. He was offensive coordinator his last season with the Texans.
An experienced playcaller could be a boost for quarterback Josh Freeman, who struggled last season with 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. In 2010, he threw 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Bucs committed 40 turnovers this season.
Before they parted ways Jan. 27, Fisher was the NFL's longest tenured coach, spending nearly 17 seasons with the Houston Oilers/Titans organization. Fisher went 142-120 (.542), winning four division titles and appearing in the playoffs six times. He's 5-6 in the playoffs, with a Super Bowl trip in the 1999 season, when the Titans lost to the Rams 23-16.