You can strike one more head-coaching vacancy off the list. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just fired Greg Schiano on Monday morning, and two days later, they appear to have their next man in the form of former Chicago Bears HC Lovie Smith:
The Bucs are hiring Lovie Smith to be their new head coach, two sides are finalizing the contract tonight
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 2, 2014
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 2, 2014
Smith is returning to the Buccaneers where he coached linebackers from 1996 to 2000. As head coach of the Bears, Smith had a 81-63 record and won the NFC North three times in nine seasons and led Chicago to Super Bowl XLI where they lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
It may not end here though, as ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported earlier this week the Bucs may hire Smith and current Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay.
The thought of Tampa getting both Smith and McKay is as good of a package-deal as you could ask for. McKay, who has not been significantly involved in football operations since 2008, could be ready to return to Tampa Bay.
McKay was Tampa Bay’s general manager from 1993 to 2003, their glory years. The Bucs went to the playoffs six times and won Super Bowl XXXVII. For now, Smith appears to be the favorite to land the job in Tampa.
With the Houston Texans hiring Bill O’Brien, that’s two head-coaching vacancies now filled, and two less sports for the Cincinnati Bengals to lose Jay Gruden and/or Mike Zimmer to.
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