By Dory LeBlanc
Sunday morning, the Bucs' Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson made some alarming claims about Greg Schiano, including that the head coach ran him out of practice. According to Deadspin, Jackson told the story during a pre-game show on another Tampa Bay sports station:
“Schiano sent his guy over to run me out of practice one day,” Jackson said. “This guy said, ‘Who are you? What are you doing here? You can’t be here.’ I said, ‘go get the Glazers if you want me to leave.’ He (Schiano) tried to run me out.”
“I usually bring kids to One Buc Place, 4th and 5th graders in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County doing my case management work with a lot of youth in this area,” Jackson said Sunday morning. “They told me to stop bringing kids on Friday because I’m distracting professional players.”
After months of letting rumors and claims go unanswered, the Buccaneers have decided it's time to defend themselves, especially when the claim involves forbidding deserving children from visiting One Buc Place.
The Bucs' Director of Communications Nelson Luis responded to Jackson's claims via email to ProFootballTalk.com:
“Dexter showed up unannounced at the facility during a Saturday walk thru before our game against the Philadelphia Eagles last season,” Luis told PFT via email. “Because he wasn’t expected, one of the football staffers, who had never met Dexter, approached him and asked if he could help him. Dexter said that he was a former player and that he had been told he could come out whenever he wanted. The staffer explained that we would be happy to have him out at the facility but that the usual protocol with former players is to tell us they are coming. Dexter was allowed to stay for the remainder of practice and actually spent a few minutes after practice on the field with a couple of the players and was formally introduced to Coach Schiano.”
The Buccaneers explained that the issue isn’t bringing kids to the facility. The issue is bringing them to the facility on days when players are present.
“We have an established community program that allows select groups of elementary school students to take tours of One Buccaneer Place as an incentive program,” Luis said. “The tours are conducted on Tuesdays because that is the player’s day off and allows access to many of the most compelling areas of the facility such as the locker room, training room, weight room, etc. The Buccaneer organization is deeply committed to children and education as the core of our community relations platforms and coach Schiano has been supportive of our efforts in those areas. . . .
“We would have been happy to work with Dexter to find an appropriate day and time to assist him with the commendable work he is doing with his children in the community. However, Fridays during the NFL season are an important day of final preparations for the upcoming game and would not be the ideal day to host a group of children.”
To read the entire article from PFT, click HERE.
The Bucs face division rival Carolina (3-3) Thursday night in a nationally televised game on the NFL Network following a short week of practice. The last thing Tampa Bay needs is another distraction.