Bucs come to coach's defence

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

Down in chilly Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers not only are gearing up for their game against the Detroit Lions with visions of a possible playoff berth dancing in their heads, they are also coming to the defence of their head coach, Raheem Morris, who has received some criticism for building a team that has had about as many run-ins with the law as the bad old Cincinnati Bengals.

On Monday, linebacker Geno Hayes was arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct following an altercation outside a Tampa nightclub. In making the arrest, the arresting police officer was forced to use a stun gun on Hayes.

It marked the third arrest by a Bucs player of staff member in the past two months and the sixth this year.

"Raheem is a great coach," quarterback Josh Freeman said in defence of his coach.

"I mean everybody has the utmost respect for Raheem and the talk has really been stop screwing this guy over by getting in trouble off the field. That's basically been the only wrinkle."

Morris, he said, is not responsible for the off-field actions of the players.

"Not at all," Freeman said. "I don't think it says anything about the type of coach Raheem is. I think some people could look at it that way, but honestly the circumstances where the stuff occurred it is all on the player.

"I mean his job is to coach us and put us in position to win football games. He's done that. When we get done with football you can't expect Raheem to go to everybody's house at a certain hour. It is the NFL, we have to take a higher level of responsibility on ourselves from college.

"As team captains and leaders we've been stressing that a lot lately."

Over the final three weeks, the Bucs focus has got to stay on the field, not off it.


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