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Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris denies report of confrontation with cornerback Aqib Talib

TAMPA — Bucs coach Raheem Morris downplayed a radio report that CB Aqib Talib cursed him out after missing curfew following the Oct. 25 loss to the Patriots in London.

Morris said Talib was one of a few players who missed the after-game curfew by going out for dinner with their wives or teammates, adding the situation has been handled internally. According to the 620-AM report, Talib directed profanity toward Morris when the first-year coach confronted him in the hotel.

Morris emphatically stated: "I've never ever once been disrespected by Talib — in life. Never.

"Myself and Talib, we have a great relationship. I don't think we've ever had an argument. Now I've yelled at him before, but I don't know that we've had an argument before."

Visiting teams normally return home immediately after a game. In London, the Bucs didn't depart until Monday morning and set a Sunday curfew. A number of players admitted they planned to go out and risk the fine for breaking curfew.

As for the report that Talib cursed at him, Morris said, "We use swear words to each other every day" on the football field.

"It's just a form of communication of some sorts," Morris said. "He's never disrespected me. He's always been as respectful as you can be to a coach, to a brother figure, a father figure, however he looks at me."

KICKING CAROUSEL: The Bucs made another switch at kicker, signing Connor Barth Tuesday after the second-year pro impressed in a workout.

K Shane Andrus was released after missing his only field-goal attempt in four games. GM Mark Dominik said Andrus' consistency in practice was a concern, as were his kickoffs in games.

Barth, 23, kicked for the Chiefs last season, going 10-for-12. He spent this preseason with the Dolphins. The Bucs are 2-of-7 on field-goal attempts after releasing the franchise's most accurate kicker, Matt Bryant, before the season.

THROWBACK TIME: Several Bucs seem excited and honored to wear the throwback orange uniforms Sunday, when Hall of Fame DE Lee Roy Selmon will be inducted into the new Bucs Ring of Honor and the 1979 club that reached the NFC title game will be given a tribute.

"We're honoring the legendary Buc — the guy who started it off around here," DT Chris Hovan said. "Whatever uniforms they put on us, we have to go out and get a victory. There's a lot to play for, the fans will be great. … It's old school, new school."

Though C Jeff Faine liked honoring Selmon, he acknowledged the uniform switch was for the better. "I think there's a reason they changed the color scheme," Faine said.

MISCELLANY: Morris said Pro Bowl kick returner Clifton Smith, out since suffering a concussion against Carolina, should be back for Sunday's game. … The arraignment for Talib's misdemeanor battery case is set for Monday morning in Pinellas County. Talib faces the charge for allegedly hitting a cab driver while a passenger in mid August.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris denies report of confrontation with cornerback Aqib Talib 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 6:25pm]
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