Buccaneers’ Dungy: 5-Year, $6M Deal
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rewarded Tony Dungy for leading the team to its first playoff berth since 1982, voiding the remaining four years on his contract Wednesday and replacing it with a new five-year deal worth more than $6 million.
Under the agreement, Dungy will earn an annual salary that’s nearly twice the $650,000 he earned last year.
Tampa Bay won 11 games in 1997, including a playoff victory _ the team’s first in 18 years _ over the Detroit Lions. An unprecedented eight Buccaneers appeared in the Pro Bowl in January.
``Two years ago, we decided Tony was the right man to lead this team into the future,″ Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer said. ``Since that time, he has exceeded even our highest expectations. His steady influence has been a major reason we have been able to turn the tide in Tampa Bay.
``I felt it was only appropriate to show our gratitude for all he’s been able to accomplish in just two seasons.″
Dungy signed a six-year contract in 1996, inheriting a team that hadn’t finished with a winning record since going 5-4 during the strike-shortened 1982 season.
The Bucs lost nine of their first 10 games under him before going 5-2 down the stretch that season to set the tone for a breakthrough year in 1997.
``While last season may have been exciting, we believe we will continue to improve,″ Dungy said. ``It’s comforting to know that the ownership has this level of trust and faith in what we are attempting to do.″