TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden was rewarded Tuesday for Tampa Bay's worst-to-first turnaround in the NFC South with a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2011 season.
General manager Bruce Allen also was given a three-year extension, keeping him under contract for another four seasons.
Gruden and Allen were attending Senior Bowl workouts in Mobile, Ala., and unavailable for comment. Financial terms were not announced.
The Bucs rebounded from a 4-12 finish in 2006 to go 9-8 and win the NFC South this season. It was the team's third division title in six years under Gruden, who is 48-48 in the regular season and 3-2 in the playoffs since moving to Tampa Bay from Oakland in 2002.
Owner Malcolm Glazer and his sons paid a hefty price -- four high draft picks and $8 million cash -- to pry the coach away from the Raiders. The move produced immediate dividends with a Super Bowl title in Gruden's first season, however the Bucs have missed the playoffs three of five years since then.
The contract extensions are a clear indication that the Glazers agree with Gruden and Allen that the franchise is back on the right track.
The Bucs overcame numerous key injuries to escape the NFC South cellar, and Allen said earlier this month that the club will head into the upcoming free agency signing period about $23 million under the salary cap.
Despite losing to the New York Giants in the wild-card round of the playoffs and dropping four of five games down the stretch overall, Gruden considers the future bright because of the rapid development of several young players and the financial flexibility the team has to pursue offseason additions.
Allen, who also worked with Gruden in Oakland, joined the Bucs in 2004. He inherited a tight salary-cap situation that made it difficult to compete for top-tier free agents until last winter, when the team landed quarterback Jeff Garcia.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press