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Gruden’s Job Appears Safe; For Now

From: Orlando Sentinel

Coach Jon Gruden stepped to the podium Monday morning for the postmortem of his 2008 season. “I feel worse today than I did yesterday,” he said. Not as bad, however, as a trio of colleagues — Detroit’s Rod Marinelli, Cleveland’s Romeo Crennel and the New York Jets’ Eric Mangini — who were fired Monday. Around Tampa Bay, fans of the Buccaneers were in ugly-mob form in the wake of Sunday’s 31-24 home loss to the awful Oakland Raiders, the team’s fourth straight defeat and the death-blow to playoff hopes that started the month as a virtual certainty.

The talk-radio circuits were lit up with calls for somebody to pay for the biggest collapse in franchise history. Gruden, with just two playoff appearances (both first-round ousters) in the six seasons since winning the Super Bowl, was the bull’s-eye on everyone’s target. “They have every right to feel the way they do,” Gruden said of a fan base that saw a 9-3 record and utter control of a postseason berth (even an NFC South title and first-round playoff bye) implode before its eyes, including back-to-back ugly home losses to end the year. “I’m working as hard as I can, and I will continue to do that as long as I’m in this position.”

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