NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The NFL has issued a warning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Bill Parcells about possible tampering violations that could subject them to punishment by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
The warning came in a letter from Jeffrey Pash, the NFL's counsel, to Bucs management in the wake of numerous reports that Parcells, who has not been hired by the team yet, was assembling
a staff that includes people under contract to NFL clubs.
"We expressed our concern about possible violations of the tampering rules," league spokesman Greg Aiello said.
The New York Daily News reported that Jets owner Woody Johnson voiced concerns to the league about Parcells, who resigned as Jets director of football operations in 2000, making illegal
contact with members of their organization.
According to the newspaper, a "few" teams lodged similar complaints, prompting the league to send a stern letter to Bucs General Manager Rich McKay.
If tampering can be proved, Parcells and the Bucs would be subject to a fine and the team could lose draft picks.
But, Parcells is baffled by the investigation into the allegations.
"How can I be accused of tampering if I don't work for anybody?" Parcells told the Daily News.
Parcells is believed to be interested in several members of the Jets organization, including offensive line coach Bill Muir and strength coach John Lott, Detroit Lions running backs coach
Maurice Carthon and Chicago Bears receivers coach Todd Haley.
Jets Assistant General Manager Mike Tannenbaum did receive permission to interview with the Bucs, and spent the last two days in Tampa Bay. If the Bucs name Tannenbaum as their general manager in the next few days, then the announcement of Parcells as coach will not be too far behind. McKay would assume the title of club president.
The Bucs fired Coach Tony Dungy last Monday, two days after losing in the wild card round of the playoffs for the second straight year.