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Sunday, December 29
Updated: December 30, 7:36 AM ET
Bucs say talks with Parcells amount to tampering news services

The Buccaneers have notified Bill Parcells' agent Jimmy Sexton that talks with the Cowboys are in violation of NFL's tampering rules, claiming Parcells signed a four-year contract with Tampa Bay last year before deciding not to take the job.

The Bucs contend teams must first seek permission from them to talk with Parcells and would be entitled to compensation if Parcells agrees to coach elsewhere next season.

The NFL said it would look into the matter on Monday.

"We have put Bill Parcells and his representatives on notice that any team that wishes to speak with him must first receive our permission in accordance with the NFL Anti-Tampering rules and we will require compensation to grant such permission," Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay said Sunday.

"We have to do what is in the best interest of the franchise,'' Bucs coach Jon Gruden said in part of the same statement. "I fully support any action that is necessary, but this really has nothing to do with our play on the field and our pursuit of a championship.''

Despite the fact that the Bucs sent the letters of notification to Sexton and to the NFL office, neither entity had received the notification as of Sunday night. But the Buccaneers confirm that the letters were sent on Friday.

The contract was signed by Parcells but never submitted to the NFL for approval, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports.

The Buccaneers have not immediately returned calls made to them by ESPN.

A source close to Parcells, who insisted the move by the Bucs is motivated only by revenge for being jilted by the coach last year, said Tampa Bay officials are making a mistake.

"I can't believe they want to pursue this," said the source. "There could be some things that come out, as a result of their actions, that will be embarrassing to the Bucs, too."

Long before the Bucs fired coach Tony Dungy, the team negotiated a non-binding agreement that allowed either side, Parcells or the Bucs, to back away from it. The Bucs apparently are alleging now that there was an agreement subsequent to that one.

The Cowboys are planning a Monday afternoon news conference to announce the firing of coach Dave Campo, the Dallas Morning News reported Sunday, which would clear the way for Dallas to hire Parcells.

Mortensen reported Friday that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also has spoken to former Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green at least once last week about the team's imminent opening.

Information from's Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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