With Minnesota’s Leslie Fraizer being the lone Black coach canned from the NFL ranks this season, the NFL will be bringing back another Black coach in Lovie Smith who was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Two days after they fired Greg Schiano, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to make Smith their next head coach. Smith, who spent 1996 through 2000 as the Buccaneers’ linebackers coach, will reportedly sign a four-year deal with a fifth-year option. ESPN reports that the contract will be for about $5 million per year.
Smith was the Chicago Bears’ head coach from 2004 through 2012, amassing an 81-63 regular-season record and a 3-3 record in the postseason. Smith’s Bears lost Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts, and his defenses regularly ranked among the top in the NFL, but he was fired at the end of the 2012 season after a 10-6 record. Chicago started the season 7-1 that season but faded down the stretch.
Smith also interviewed with the Houston Texans in mid-December about their vacant head coach position before the Texans hired former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien on Dec. 31. The Detroit Lions were also said to be interested in Smith’s services after firing head coach Jim Schwartz. Several reports have indicated that Smith will bring former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford in to be his offensive coordinator, and it’s possible that Rod Marinelli could be Smith’s defensive coordinator. Marinelli was Smith’s defensive line coach in Chicago in 2009, and his defensive coordinator from 2010 through 2012.