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Casullo to Join Staff

Former Raider, Jet and Seahawk coach Bob Casullo will start Monday as the new tight ends coach, replacing Ron Middleton and continuing the reshaping of the Bucs’ staff


In Bob Casullo's seven NFL seasons, his teams have made it to the playoffs six times, with the 2005 Seahawks reaching the Super Bowl

In his seven NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks, Bob Casullo has tasted the playoffs six times and been to two Super Bowls. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope that trend continues in 2007 and beyond.

That's because Casullo is set to join the Bucs' staff as the team's new tight ends coach, replacing Ron Middleton. After three years of tutoring Tampa Bay's tight ends, Middleton left last week to join Nick Saban's new staff at the University of Alabama.

Casullo and the Buccaneers have agreed to terms and the veteran of more three decades of coaching will officially start as the new tight ends coach next week. He will join the team in Mobile, Alabama and work with the North squad tight ends at the Senior Bowl. Tampa Bay's staff was selected to coach that team for the week, while San Francisco's coaches will handle the South squad.

Casullo previously worked on Head Coach Jon Gruden's staff in Oakland. The Raiders gave Casullo his first NFL job in 2000, as the special teams coach; Gruden left Oakland to take over the Buccaneers in 2002 but Casullo remained with the Raiders through 2003.

Prior to joining Gruden in Oakland, Casullo coached the tight ends and special teams at Michigan State, coincidentally under Saban before the then-Spartans coach left for Louisiana State. After coaching at two Syracuse-area high schools for a dozen years (1973-84), Casullo jumped to the college ranks with Syracuse from 1985-94 and then Georgia Tech from 1995-98.

Casullo's second season with the Seahawks just concluded on Sunday when Seattle lost at Chicago in overtime in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs. Casullo's teams have made it to the postseason in every year except 2003, his final season in Oakland. His two Super Bowl trips came with Oakland in 2002 and Seattle in 2005.

Under Casullo's tutelage, Seahawks kicker Josh Brown made 43 of 56 field goal attempts (76.8%), including eight of 13 tries from 50 yards or farther. Brown was named a Pro Bowl alternate following a 2005 season in which he scored 110 points. With the Jets in 2004, Casullo aided in the development of tight end Chris Baker, who he had previously coached at Michigan State. Casullo also coached current Buccaneer tight end Anthony Becht, then in the last of his five seasons as the Jets' starter.

The 55-year-old Casullo had four strong seasons with the Raiders as well, helping Shane Lechler develop into a Pro Bowl punter. Oakland had the NFL's top kickoff coverage squad in 2001 and the league's second-ranked punt-return squad in 2003.

With the Buccaneers, Casullo will once again work with Becht and will oversee the continued development of young standout Alex Smith. Those two tight ends combined for 53 receptions and four touchdowns for the Buccaneers in 2006.

The Buccaneers have made several changes to their coaching staff since the end of the 2006 season, most of it on defense. On Thursday, the team added Larry Coyer as its new assistant head coach/defensive line coach. On Friday, Casey “Gus” Bradley was promoted to linebackers coach from defensive quality control coach, and last Tuesday Raheem Morris rejoined the team as the defensive backs coach. Coyer, Bradley and Morris replaced Jethro Franklin, Joe Barry and Greg Burns, respectively.

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