Biggs: Glazers firmly deny Bucs are for sale

Fresh off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ trip to London, where they stunk it up in the land of the Manchester United, rumors are swirling that the Glazer family wants out of the NFL.

Two Tampa radio stations have reported rumors that the club is for sale, and there’s no question the Bucs have been tightening the belt the last few seasons. Sure, they’re paying Jon Gruden to excel as an announcer for ESPN on “Monday Night Football,” and they’re paying Bruce Allen to no longer be the general manager, but the Bucs have been saving the last few seasons, that much cannot be debated.

Dan Sileo at 970-AM was apparently the first to go with the rumor this morning, citing significant cash losses by the Glazers. He claims they had massive losses in the Bernie Madoff crash.

“The report today by WDAE’s Dan Sileo about our family and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is 100 percent false,’’ said Joel Glazer, a co-chairman of the club. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not, nor have they ever been for sale. In addition, our family or any of our related companies have never invested one penny with Bernie Madoff. The report is baseless, irresponsible and slanderous. This type of behavior by Mr. Sileo and his company Clear Channel will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.”

The Glazer family purchased the Bucs in 1995 for $192 million and quickly turned them into a model franchise with a new stadium. There have been two Super Bowls played there since they constructed Raymond James Stadium, and they won Super Bowl XXXVII. Ten years later, the family bought controlling interest of Manchester United, and reports are that they are leveraged to the hilt.

Here’s what we can definitively say about the Bucs: In the last four seasons, they rank 32nd in the NFL in committed cash, the true number of how much money a club spends because it represents actual dollars spent. Tampa had a total of $363 million in committed cash from 2005 through 2008, according to NFL Management Council figures. Tops in the league during that span is Dallas at $497 million followed by Minnesota ($444 million) and New Orleans ($443 million). The Vikings don’t have an updated stadium like the Bucs to drive revenue. The Saints not only don’t have a newer stadium, their city was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Nothing has changed this season. The Bucs rank 27th in committed cash currently for this season at $97 million, $27 million behind the Saints and $33 million behind the Oakland Raiders.

Tampa was way under the salary cap until the trade of defensive end Gaines Adams, the fourth pick of the 2007 draft, to the Chicago Bears chewed up $15 million in space for Tampa.

The Glazers say it’s patently false, and it must be pointed out that they were players in the offseason for two big name talents. Tampa tried to sign defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in free agency, and the Bucs were in the hunt to trade for quarterback Jay Cutler.

The 0-7 Bucs could be in jeopardy of local television blackouts later this season.

Stay tuned.

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