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A new deal for McKay

The Bucs off-season continues to be the extension season. The team is scheduled to release details of a new contract for general manager Rich McKay at a news conference today.

Terms were not known Wednesday, but McKay, one of the key figures in the Bucs' first playoff appearance in 15 seasons, had one year remaining on his contract.

A new deal has been expected for some time for McKay, who largely is credited with helping the Bucs reverse their fortunes. Owner Malcolm Glazer hinted at it last month at the annual NFL owners meeting when he said, "There's an old song that says "A good man is hard to find, you always get the other kind.' But we didn't get the other kind, we got the good man."

McKay, a vice president with the team since 1992 and the general manager since 1994, steered the franchise through the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse, the sale of the team to Glazer and a new stadium issue that could have led to the Bucs moving to another city.

He has made a number of shrewd moves in the draft to acquire such talents as 1997 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Warrick Dunn and Pro Bowl players Warren Sapp, Trent Dilfer, Mike Alstott and Derrick Brooks.

McKay, who is co-chairman of the influential NFL competition committee, joins a long line of players, coaches and executives who have signed new deals since the beginning of the 1997 season. Seven players have negotiated new pacts, including Sapp, who got a $36.05-million deal in March.

Coach Tony Dungy and director of player personnel Jerry Angelo recently received extensions. Dungy signed a five-year, $6.5-million deal in March, and Angelo got a three-year pact with an unspecified salary.

McKay, who did not return messages left on his voice mail Wednesday, has been reticent to discuss personal contract negotiations.

"It's not that it's an unpleasant topic, it's just one that I'm not really comfortable talking about," McKay said at the owners meeting.

If McKay's deal is similar to agreements signed by the league's elite general managers, he could earn more than $1-million annually. Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf signed a six-year deal averaging $1.35-million after the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI. Kansas City's Carl Peterson and San Diego's Bobby Beathard reportedly also earn at least $1-million.

NOTES: The Bucs are finalists for two prestigious awards from the Pro Football Writers of America. Dungy and Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher are finalists for the Horrigan Award, which goes to the most cooperative coach in the league. The Bucs public-relations staff, headed by director of communications Reggie Roberts, is one of three finalists for the Rozelle Award with Miami and Detroit.

The Bucs named Kimberly Counter as the team's cheerleading coordinator Wednesday. Counter will oversee the selection of the SwashBuclers, beginning with pre-audition classes June 1-2 at the University of Tampa's Martinez Sports Center.

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