New Bucs GM Bruce Allen helped build the Raiders into three-time division winners in the AFC West
The last time a former Oakland Raider was plugged into a key leadership role, things turned out pretty well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Friday, the Buccaneers announced the hiring of former Raider executive Bruce Allen as the team's new general manager. Allen signed a five-year contract, the terms of which were not disclosed, as is team policy.
Allen previously worked with Tampa Bay Head Coach Jon Gruden from 1998-2001, when both were with the Raiders. Gruden left in 2002 to join the Buccaneers.
Gruden obviously has fond memories of working with Allen, who was named the 2002 NFL Executive of the Year by The Sporting News. In Tampa, the two will work hard to help the team re-establish the on-field dominance it displayed during 2002, Gruden's first season with the team.
"We are excited about the future here with Bruce Allen," said Gruden. "To add a guy of this caliber is truly exciting. Bruce is highly thought of and his unique capabilities will certainly benefit our players and coaches."
Allen becomes just the third general manager in franchise history. As the new head of the Bucs' football operations, Allen will assume all the duties commonly associated with the job of general manager – supervising the team's entire football operations, negotiating player contracts and presiding over the work of the club's college and pro personnel departments, including the NFL draft, waiver wire transactions, trades, free agency and salary cap management.
"We are very pleased to have Bruce Allen join our organization," said Owner/President Malcolm Glazer. "We are extremely excited about his vision for the future of this football team."
In Oakland, Allen was instrumental in the Raiders' successful combination of building through the draft and aggressively pursuing veteran free agents. He played a vital role in the acquisition of such key veterans as WR Jerry Rice, S Rod Woodson, QB Rich Gannon, RB Charlie Garner, LB Bill Romanowski, T Lincoln Kennedy and DT Sam Adams, all of whom played a part in getting the Raiders to their first Super Bowl in 19 years. The Raiders won the AFC in 2002 before losing Super Bowl XXXVII to Gruden and the Buccaneers.
Now, Allen is eager to apply his roster-building talents to his new charges.
"I noticed that the 2002 team was a very good team," he said with a laugh, recalling the up-close look he got in the Super Bowl. "We have some work to do. We have to improve this football team and augment it with some fresh talent.
"I'm excited about the opportunity for the upcoming decade. (I appreciate) the Glazers' commitment to winning, and the remarkable coaching staff and players that are here."
The Raiders experienced great success during Allen's nine years with the team, in terms of both team achievements and individual honors. Oakland won three AFC West championships during Allen's tenure, made two AFC Championship Game appearances and made it to the big game in 2002, the first-ever Super Bowl matchup of the league's top-ranked offense (Oakland) and defense (Tampa Bay).
The Raiders also had 30 Pro Bowl invites during Allen's tenure, including 14 from 2000-2002, and 30 AP All-Pro selections. Among the players who were drafted during Allen's time with the team who went on to make the Pro Bowl were DT Darrell Russell, CB Charles Woodson, P Shane Lechler and C Barret Robbins.
Allen joined the Raiders three years into the NFL's new free agency system and quickly found a niche as, among other things, a master of the salary cap. His Executive of the Year award was in part recognition of his work in fitting such imported stars as Gannon, Rice, R. Woodson, Romanowski, Adams and Trace Armstrong under the Raiders' cap umbrella.
Though he is just 47 Allen's career in football has remarkable depth and breadth, covering almost every aspect of the game and the business and touching down in such leagues as the NFL, the USFL and the CFL.
Allen, of course, was deep into the game almost from birth. His father was the late George Allen, the Hall of Fame coach of the Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams. Naturally, Bruce Allen took up the sport and eventually played at the University of Richmond as a punter, even earning a 12th-round draft selection by the Baltimore Colts in 1978.
Though he didn't stick with the Colts, Allen was the quarterbacks coach at Arizona State by the next year and the head coach at Occidental College by 1980, when he was just 22 years old. Allen then spent the following two years scouting for the Raiders and running a semi-pro football team while dipping into the business world as a local consultant for a New York-based company.
In 1982, when he was still just 24, Allen became the Vice President of Operations for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He quickly jumped to the United States Football League, a newly-formed rival for the NFL, that same year, joining his father with the Chicago Blitz. With George Allen as head coach, the Blitz won a division title in the USFL's first season, then relocated to Phoenix the next year, became the Arizona Wranglers and won another division title.
The USFL lasted just three seasons, after which Allen put his pro football experience to work on the other side of the business, forming GBA Sportsworld, an athlete representation and marketing company in 1985. He thus gained valuable and extensive experience on the other side of the player-acquisition process, which eventually served him very well in Oakland. He came back to the NFL in 1995 as a senior assistant with the Raiders and stayed in that position for nine years.
Allen and his wife, Kiersten have two children, son George (7), and daughter Mikayla (5).
Along with his father, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002, Bruce Allen's brother, George, also holds a position of distinction. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2000 after serving as the 67th Governor of Virginia from 1994-98. Bruce and George have two other siblings, Greg and Jennifer Richard.