The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasted no time finding the man to run their team.
Lovie Smith will be the new coach in Tampa, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The team officially announced Smith's five-year contract Thursday.
Smith, the former Chicago Bears coach, was the leading candidate from the start of the Bucs' search. He will return to the team where he was the linebackers coach from 1996 to 2000. Fox's Jay Glazer first reported the contract.
League executives informed of the Bucs' process told Rapoport earlier this week that there was talk of bringing together the old Tampa Bay group, including former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, former Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell and others. Two other personnel men formerly with the Bears -- Kansas City's Chris Ballard and Washington's Morocco Brown -- also are names to watch, Rapoport reported.
Smith compiled an 81-63 record in nine seasons with the Bears. During his time in the Windy City, Smith championed solid defensive groups. His talents and leadership should mesh well with the defensive personnel currently in Tampa.
The biggest critique of Smith in Chicago was his handling of the offensive side of the ball.
To quell those concerns, sources close to Smith have told Rapoport that former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford will be brought in as offensive coordinator. The details of that deal are still being worked out.
For defensive coordinator, Smith is looking at two options. His first choice is Rod Marinelli, the former Detroit Lions head coach who's currently under contract with the Cowboys as a defensive line coach. If Smith can't get permission from the Cowboys to speak to Marinelli, Rapoport said former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier likely would be brought on as defensive coordinator.
The Bucs made sure Smith never made it to that interview.