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Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Luke McCown welcomes competition

TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Luke McCown has heard the speculation linking Tampa Bay to Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. And he knows all about reports the Bucs were involved in talks with the Patriots about quarterback Matt Cassel last month.

McCown's just not going to let it get to him.

"I want the Bucs to succeed," McCown, 27, said Wednesday. "I couldn't (be upset). Mark (Dominik) wants to be the best GM he can be. Raheem (Morris) wants to be the best head coach he can be. They have to do their jobs, and their jobs are to put together the best team they can put together. If they feel like that's another option, I can't blame them for that. I wouldn't agree with it. But I can't blame them for that.

"I have an opportunity to prove that I'm the franchise guy that they're looking for. I want to be the quarterback here for the next seven, eight, nine years. I'm going to do my very best to prove that. … It's not personal. It's a business and you have to understand that."

McCown signed a two-year contract extension in February that will pay a minimum of $5 million in the fall. He was told before signing that he would be given ample opportunity to win the starting job after having a peripheral role under former coach Jon Gruden. But the Bucs never promised him they wouldn't scour the market for a quarterback to compete with McCown.

The chance of Cutler landing in Tampa appears remote. And that's fine with running back Earnest Graham.

"I think letting Luke have a chance is a great decision," Graham said. "He probably should have been playing a long time ago. I think we're moving in the right direction."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Luke McCown welcomes competition 03/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 19, 2009 6:56am]
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