Sources: Bucs have successors in place

Updated: January 17, 2009, 11:51 AM ET
By John Clayton and Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

The surprising firings of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen are expected to yield the quick hiring of Raheem Morris as head coach and Mark Dominik as general manager, according to multiple sources.

According to a source, a news conference could be held as early as Saturday.

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Morris, 32, has made a meteoric rise from being Hofstra's defensive backs coach in 2000-2001 to likely head coach of the Bucs in 2009. Morris was on the Buccaneers' defensive coaching staff from 2002 to 2005, was defensive coordinator at Kansas State in 2006, and returned to Tampa Bay as the defensive backs coach in 2007 and 2008.

Morris interviewed for the Broncos' head coaching position after Mike Shanahan was dismissed. Morris was promoted to defensive coordinator of the Bucs after Monte Kiffin left for the University of Tennessee.

Dominik joined the Bucs in 1995 as a pro personnel assistant. He was a candidate for the Chiefs general manager job that went to Scott Pioli.

The firing of Gruden and Allen came out of the blue. Allen spent the afternoon negotiating a contract to hire Joe Barry as the Bucs linebackers coach. Morris was in the process of hiring former Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs for the defensive staff.

Super Bowl XXXVII against the Oakland Raiders.

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Super Bowl XXXVII against the Oakland Raiders.

After 6 p.m. Friday, ownership announced Gruden and Allen were out without any indication of replacements. Apparently, a plan was already in place in hiring Morris and Dominik.

Although Bill Cowher and Mike Shananan are available, they were not contacted by the Bucs. Cowher might not have been interested because of the team's uncertainty at quarterback. Shanahan is on vacation and might sit out next season.

Bucs ownership made a costly decision in firing Gruden and Allen. According to multiple sources, their firings cost roughly $25 million in contract commitments. Gruden had signed a three-year, $15.3 million extension and was under contract through 2012. Allen was making more than $2 million a year.

John Clayton and Pat Yasinskas cover the NFL for ESPN.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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