Buried in a self loathing article about how Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris supposedly betrayed former middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, Tom Balog of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune pulls out all the stops in his attempt of character assassination as he calls Morris’ integrity into question.
There’s a cold hard lesson that every Buccaneer player needs to take from the departure of free agent middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, who was perhaps the player closest to Raheem Morris, this side of Ronde Barber, in his first two years as Tampa Bay’s head coach.
Morris publicly stated last year at one of his podiums how he and Ruud went to dinner together during the offseason, to talk football and life. Their friendship stretched beyond One Buccaneer Place, as they have been spotted hanging out together on other occasions this year.
“Barrett was more than just my ‘Mike’ backer, he was a close friend,” Morris said Sunday. “I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he goes on and proves us wrong and makes it happen. But it’s time to move on.”
When Ruud’s contract expired after last season, and he desperately wanted to remain a Buccaneer, for the rest of his career, how much influence did Morris try to exert upon general manager Mark Dominik to keep around the player who had been Tampa Bay’s leading tackler for the past four seasons?
The translation for the rest of the Buccaneers: Despite however much Morris tries to be close to you now, someday, at contract time, he will not be there for you. He will disown you, just like he apparently did Ruud.
To unequivocally state that Morris disowned Ruud, is laughable. I suppose just because a coach has a genuine interest or shares a cold adult beverage outside of work with a player means he should always keep the player on the roster even if he’s not getting the job done or doesn’t fit what the team is looking for scheme wise.
It would seem that 31-other NFL teams agreed with Morris and general manager Mark Dominik. Because Ruud signed a one-year deal with the Titans a few days ago – did not receive a long term lucrative deal or attract much interest. That alone should have told Balog, that even though Ruud led the Bucs in tackles the last four years that he was not as highly regarded in NFL circles, as Balog seems to think.