Not Looking Over His Shoulder

By Jim Flynn
Updated: December 27, 2009

TAMPA — Just hours after NFL.com reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had contacted former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher about possibly coaching the team in 2010, Bucs first-year head coach Raheem Morris responded by guiding his team to a 20-17 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints, who were 13-1 heading into the contest.

Morris, 33, is the youngest head coach in the NFL. He has been with the Bucs organization since 2002 when he was hired as a defensive quality control coach.

He has since been promoted to defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator and head coach, the last two promotions coming within the last year.

The Bucs are 3-12 on the season, but have won two straight games, including Sunday’s come-from-behind overtime victory in New Orleans.

After the game, Morris was asked about NFL.com’s report that suggested the Glazers were considering firing him and pursuing the retired Cowher, who won nine division championships and a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh from 1992-2006.

“I have a great relationship with my owners,” Morris said in his post-game press conference. “The thing I know about those guys is they didn’t hire me last year in a meeting.”

“The thing I know about these guys is I’ve had a seven-year relationship with them. They interviewed me for seven years, and I’ve been around these guys.”

“So, I’m pretty sure if I was getting popped, fired or whatever you want to call it, my owners would come tell me like men because that’s who they are and that’s what they want to be. I’m sure Bill Cowher [wants this job]. Everybody wants this job – it’s the best in football. I want it, too.”

The Buccaneers will conclude the 2009 regular season at home against the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday. When asked if he believed Sunday’s win in New Orleans was enough to save his job, Morris decided to remain focused on the short term and what the Bucs had just accomplished against the Saints.

“That’s not my job,” said Morris.

“My job is to take advantage of opportunities, and that’s what we did today.”