Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches faced allegations of violence against women

Former Bucs assistants Paul Spicer and Skyler Fulton faced accusations of violence against women before coaching in Tampa Bay under Dirk Koetter, according to a USA Today investigation.
Paul Spicer, left, is now a defensive line coach at the University of South Florida. Skyler Fulton, right, is now a wide receivers coach at Portland State University.
Paul Spicer, left, is now a defensive line coach at the University of South Florida. Skyler Fulton, right, is now a wide receivers coach at Portland State University. [ University of South Florida | Portland State University ]
Published Sept. 19, 2019|Updated Sept. 20, 2019

TAMPA — Two former Bucs assistant coaches have previously faced allegations of violence against women, USA Today reported Thursday.

The newspaper ran background checks on more than 700 coaches who held NFL positions in the 2018 season and found four such cases, two of which implicated Skyler Fulton and Paul Spicer, who worked under then-Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter. Neither Fulton nor Spicer is with the Bucs now — they left after Koetter was fired following last season — though Spicer is still in Tampa, as the defensive line coach at USF.

The Bucs declined to comment on the report.

Fulton, who was a Bucs offensive assistant in 2017 and promoted to wide receivers coach in 2018, was arrested in a 2010 domestic violence incident in Washington state, USA Today reported. Thurston County Sheriff’s Office records say Fulton “grabbed a woman by the neck” and “shoved her to the ground,” the newspaper said.

Prosecutors dismissed charges of assault and malicious mischief against Fulton after he completed a pretrial diversion program.

Fulton, 37, initially joined the Bucs staff under Koetter in the 2016 preseason through the NFL’s diversity fellowship program. After the preseason, he coached receivers and special teams at Citrus College in Glendora, Calif. That year, a woman wrote to Fulton’s bosses at Citrus College to tell them that he behaved violently toward a friend, saying he “physically assaulted the parties involved and continues to harass any family and friends associated with the victims,” USA Today reported.

Fulton, who played for Arizona State from 2001-03 under Koetter, left Citrus College three months after the last accusation to return to the Bucs staff. He currently coaches wide receivers at Portland State.

Fulton declined to comment to USA Today. His attorney, Todd Marks, told the newspaper in an email, “Any and all allegations were appropriately addressed and our system of justice found in my client’s favor in each instance.”

Spicer faced two petitions for orders of protection during his time as a player for the Jaguars, USA Today reported.

In 2005, a woman accused Spicer of choking her with a shirt, and a petition was granted temporarily by a circuit judge before the woman ultimately dismissed it. In 2008, the woman filed another petition against Spicer, but it was not granted and the woman dismissed the request.

Spicer, 44, played 11 seasons in the NFL, retiring after the 2009 season. He joined the Bucs as an assistant defensive line coach in 2015.

Spicer denied the woman’s accusations.

“If there was any real teeth to anything (the woman) said, I wouldn’t be working where I’m working now,” he told USA Today. “It has nothing to do with the NFL. I wouldn’t have a job now in coaching.”

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Spicer told the newspaper the petitions never came up during the interview process before the Bucs hired him.

USA Today did not name the women who made the allegations in any of the cases.

Peyton Barber feels like he’s still the underdog

Ronald Jones carried for 12 yards on his fourth attempt against Carolina, and never saw the ball again. The drop in touches was due in part to a lingering toe injury, but also to Peyton Barber’s effectiveness on the field.

“(Jones’) series was supposed to come up and he couldn’t make it back out there, so Peyton got to rolling a little bit,” said Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. “Whoever’s rolling, we’re going to turn around and hand that guy the ball.”

Barber finished with 82 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He said the friendly competition with Jones fires him up.

“I always feel as if I’m the underdog,” Barber said. “As long as I know what I can do, that’s all that matters.”

Medical matters

Linebacker Devin White did not participate in practice on Thursday, and the 2019 first-round draft pick is unlikely to play Sunday against the Giants. White has not appeared in practice since leaving last week’s game against Carolina early. Further tests revealed a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his left knee.

Three other defensive players, defensive tackle Beau Allen and linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Carl Nassib, were full participants in Thursday’s practice after being limited on Wednesday.

Cornerback Jamel Dean did not participate in Thursday’s practice.