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Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire Coach Jon Gruden, hire Raheem Morris

General manager Bruce Allen is also let go.

January 17, 2009|ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hours after firing Jon Gruden in a surprise move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers settled on defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their new coach.

The move to promote the 32-year-old Morris was confirmed Friday night by a person familiar with the decision who requested anonymity because the team had not yet scheduled an official announcement.

Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were dismissed earlier in the day, three weeks after the team completed one of the biggest collapses in NFL history, losing four straight games following a 9-3 start to miss the playoffs.

Director of pro personnel Mark Dominik, who has been with the Bucs for 14 seasons, will replace Allen.

Gruden, who led the team to a victory over Oakland in the 2003 Super Bowl, was Tampa Bay's coach for seven seasons. Allen was general manager for the last five seasons.

The team was tied for first place in the NFC South heading into December, but finished with losses to Carolina and Atlanta on the road and San Diego and Oakland at home, where it had been 6-0.

Since going 15-4, including the Super Bowl, in his first season with the Buccaneers, Gruden went 45-53 and made quick exits from the playoffs at home after winning division titles in 2005 and 2007.

Cowboys fire assistant Stewart

The Dallas Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Brian Stewart after two seasons, the first big coaching move after the team limped to the finish line and missed the playoffs.

More moves may come soon. Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett remained among the finalists for the St. Louis Rams' head coaching job.

Stewart is the second Dallas coach let go; the Cowboys earlier this month replaced special teams coach Bruce Read with Joe DeCamillis.

Stewart coached the San Diego Chargers' secondary for three seasons before following Coach Wade Phillips to the Cowboys. Stewart also spent two seasons as a defensive assistant with the Houston Texans.

Though Stewart had the title of defensive coordinator with the Cowboys, his responsibilities were unclear. Phillips, a former defensive coordinator, sometimes took over play-calling duties and other times left it unclear who was making the defensive decisions.

Boldin says he expects to play

After missing a playoff game with an injured hamstring, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin said he expects to play in the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

"I'm feeling good," Boldin said after practice Friday. "I've been able to practice all week, so if nothing else happens at this point, I'll be out on the field."

Boldin has practiced each of the last three days, and he said he should be able to run all his normal pass routes Sunday.

"For me, it isn't a problem either way right now," Boldin said. "It's not grabbing, so I don't have any problem with it. I'm able to run short and deep routes."

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