Defensive tackle Brad Culpepper signed a four-year contract extension Monday, giving the team some salary-cap relief for next season.
Culpepper, 28, would have been an unrestricted free agent in February. By signing an extension to 2001, he beat the league's Monday deadline for allowing teams to include the current season when prorating signing bonuses.
The sixth-year pro has started 21 games in the past two seasons. He missed three in '96 with an ankle injury. He has a career-high 4.5 sacks this year, three in a 19-18 win over Arizona.
Culpepper, claimed off waivers from Minnesota in 1994, said he preferred to remain in Tampa Bay rather than try free agency.
"I believe this organization is on the way up," he said. "I believe in the coaches. And I feel my position on the team is as good as it's ever been. I can improve every year and continue to do as good as I've done this year.
"I don't want to go somewhere else and maybe not fit into a certain scheme and maybe it's not a program that's on the upward climb."
Culpepper is enjoying his most productive season with the Bucs. He also has withstood the drafting of two defensive tackles in the past three seasons _ Warren Sapp in '94 and Marcus Jones in '96.
NOT MAD AT MICHAEL: A day after PK Michael Husted missed his third extra point in four games, some fans may have expected the Bucs to at least think about a new kicker. But coach Tony Dungy said he has not lost confidence in Husted's abilities.
"Michael works at it as much as anybody. He's a good kicker, he's got a good leg, he's won a lot of games for this team," Dungy said.
Dungy said the next two games _ at Indianapolis' RCA Dome and at Atlanta's Georgia Dome _ will provide ideal conditions for Husted to snap out of his slump.
MORE DUNN AND ANTHONY: Special teams coach Joe Marciano said Reidel Anthony and Warrick Dunn will spend more time on the punt and kick-return teams but stopped short of saying Karl Williams would be replaced.
Williams has handled most of the returns, averaging 7.4 yards on punts and 17.5 yards on kickoffs.
Marciano said he hopes Anthony and Dunn can help the Bucs break open games.
"They give us a good opportunity to get something going, a big play," Marciano said. "That's Reidel's contribution. He likes being back there."
Anthony had two kickoff returns for 42 yards in the 10-6 loss to Minnesota. For the season, he has returned five kicks for an average of 29 yards. Dunn averages 23.8 yards on five kick returns and 10.5 yards on two punt returns.
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOUTH: Owner Malcolm Glazer unveiled plans to donate $3-million over the next 30 years for the continued growth of amateur youth sports in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Glazer detailed plans to donate the money to the newly formed Tampa Bay Sports Commission Inc., and began Monday by presenting the commission a $75,000 check.
The Bucs will donate $7,500 after every regular-season victory up to $100,000 per year.
"We're very pleased to be a part of such a worthwhile and much-needed initiative," Glazer said. "One of the promises I made was to be active in the amateur sports community in the Tampa Bay area. We think this commitment solidifies and makes good on that promise."
INJURIES: TE Jackie Harris sustained a groin pull in the first half against Minnesota. He said his status would not be known until later in the week.
_ RICK STROUD, ERNEST HOOPER