Published: Sat, January 09, 2016
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire head coach Lovie Smith

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire head coach Lovie Smith

Former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was surprisingly fired after only two seasons in Tampa- will he get another shot as a head coach?

After two lackluster seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parted ways with Lovie Smith. Licht stressed the Bucs also will explore options outside the organization to try to transform the last-place team into a playoff contender. Licht called Koetter a strong candidate, but denied that several teams requesting permission to speak with Koetter about head-coaching openings - including Miami and San Francisco - had any impact on the decision to fire Smith.

The 49ers are scheduled to interview Buffalo Bills assistant head coach/running backs Anthony Lynn on Thursday and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson on Sunday.

Koetter is credited for Winston's transition to the National Football League and successful rookie season.

Smith learned of the firing by telephone before declining an opportunity to meet face to face with the Glazers.

Payton said his contract, which runs for two more seasons and pays him about $8 million annually, remains unchanged for now. Hell, it took Smith three seasons to lead the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI after taking over in 2004, and that team had a lot more talent than the 2014 Buccaneers. However, they finished on a four-game losing streak that left them out of the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

Tampa Bay cornerback Jonathan Banks was sitting Courtside Wednesday night at alma mater, Mississippi State's home basketball game against Texas A&M when he learned Smith had been fired.

His quarterback for the Super Bowl?

"After careful consideration, we informed Lovie that we have chosen to make a change", Joel Glazer, the Bucs' co-chairman, said in a statement announcing the ouster.

Winston improved immensely as the season went on under Koetter, and Licht had high praise for the 56-year-old coordinator. When you get to 6-6 in a season, it makes you think that maybe you're a little bit further along and we can get it done.

They had a disappointing finish, but Smith was optimistic about the Bucs future. The 21-year-old quarterback, who didn't single out anyone by name, said he's not concerned the comments might rub players the wrong way.

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