A blowout loss to division rival New Orleans would have been embarassing enough for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15, but their L came with a side of “awkward” and “ugly” after linebacker Adam Hayward and assistant coach Bryan Cox got into a shoving match on the sidelines in the middle of the game, and it was caught on FOX‘s cameras. Here’s the story, from the Tampa Bay Times:
As if there wasn’t enough to deal with on the field in today’s 41-0 loss to the Saints, the Bucs had a different kind of issue on the sideline when linebacker Adam Hayward and assistant coach Bryan Cox got into a heated, physical exchange. With 8:27 left in the second quarter, with Cox barking at either a player or the officials, Hayward stepped in as if to restrain Cox. The coach apparently took exception, pushing Hayward away, prompting Hayward to shove Cox – a former standout linebacker – with two hands. At that point, things nearly came to head, with linebacker Jacob Cutrera stepping in to separate them, pulling Hayward away even as he continued to berate the coach. Both player and coach said after the game the matter has been dealt with, but it was not overlooked. “I’m not happy about it but I do know it’s been resolved,” coach Greg Schiano said. “I think you chalk it up to heat of the moment. Guys are very passionate. Adam is a very passionate player, Coach Cox is a passionate coach. I know they’re very close. I think it’s more of a family spat in a frustrating time than anything that I’m deeply concerned about. “I know they’ve already smoothed that over. But again, it’s not what a football team that I’m the head coach of (does). It’s been addressed, it will be addressed and we’ll move forward from it. But it need not happen again.” Hayward didn’t want to comment, but did allow this: “It’s always an emotional game. Definitely. This is your job. This is what you feed your family with. This is what you do for a living. So, it’s an emotional game.” He later added: “We’re fine. Everything’s good. Anything else, that’s just among a player and coach who have been together for a long time.” Schiano’s assessment of the relationship between Cox and his players is true, something that is obvious each day at One Buc Place, so no lingering issues are expected.