Raheem Morris not worried about Cowher rumors

Raheem Morris (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

If the Bucs are looking to make Raheem Morris walk the plank, he isn't going to leave without a fight. On a day when reports surfaced that the Bucs' owners had contacted former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, Morris made his best argument to return in 2010 when the Bucs upset the New Orleans Saints 20-17 in overtime.

Raheem Morris indicated he did not believe reports by multiple news sources that the Glazers had contacted Cowher to "gauge his interest" in coaching Tampa Bay in 2010.

Looking exhausted in his postgame news conference, Morris said the Glazer family would confront him if they didn't want him to return next year.

"Hey man, I've got a great relationship with my owners," Morris said. "The thing I know about those guys is they didn't hire me last year to meet me. The thing I know about these guys is I had a seven-year relationship with them. They interviewed me for seven years. I'm pretty sure if I was getting popped or fired or whatever you want to call it, my owners would come and tell me like men because that's who they are. That's what they're going to be.

"I'm sure Bill Cowher -- everybody wants the Bucs job. It's the best job in football. I want it, too."

Asked if he made the best argument for returning in 2010 by beating the Saints, who were playing to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Morris said, "That's not my job. My job is to take advantage of my opportunities and that's what we did today."

Cowher has served as an analyst for CBS since retiring from the Steelers after the 2006 season. Multiple reports Sunday said Cowher is preparing a return to coaching in 2010 and has begun making calls to formulate a coaching staff.

Bucs vice-president Joel Glazer had no comment on reports that the team had contacted Cowher, but sources close to the family later denied it Sunday. Cowher was contacted earlier this season by the Buffalo Bills after they fired coach Dick Jauron and he reportedly is intrigued by possible coaching vacancies in Houston, Chicago and Carolina.

The Glazers have demonstrated a flair for the dramatic when it comes to hiring head coaches. They reached a secret agreement with Bill Parcells to coach the Bucs two weeks before firing Tony Dungy, but he backed out of the deal. That led to the Glazers trading four draft picks and $8 million to the Raiders for Jon Gruden. In fact, the Bucs are on the hook for Gruden's $5 million annual salary for two more seasons.

But several players said Sunday they were playing for Morris and aware of his shaky job status, although few had heard the Cowher reports prior to the game.

"When you have this type of season, a lot is put on the head coach and the quarterback," safety Tanard Jackson said. "But that's not the truth. There's a lot of plays that aren't being made. I think everybody in this locker room is rooting hard for Raheem."

LINEUP WATCH: Bucs kick returners have dropped like flies. First, Clifton Smith went on IR with concussions. Then Sammie Stroughter broke his foot.

Tampa Bay signed Micheal Spurlock Tuesday and he responded by returning a punt 77 yards to tie the game against the Saints. In 2007, Spurlock became the first player in club history to return a kickoff for a TD.

TRENDING: Geno Hayes needs to buy an alarm clock. The Bucs linebacker was benched for the first quarter of Sunday's game after missing the bus to the Superdome. Hayes was late to the season opener against Dallas and missed an opportunity to make his first career start.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--FB Earnest Graham suffered a turf toe injury and was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter against the Saints.

--RB Cadillac Williams became the first player this season to go over the 100-yard rushing mark in a game. He rushed 24 times for 129 yards and a TD.

--DE Jimmy Wilkerson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

--PK Conner Barth made the first game-winning kick of his career, a 47-yard FG in OT to beat the Saints.

--QB Josh Freeman overcame two INTs to engineer a 98-yard TD drive, tying for the longest in club history.

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