Lovie Smith's return to Tampa Bay is on hold. The deal is done, but it will be Monday before the Bucs bring him to town for his re-introduction. Smith's news conference is set for 2:00 on Monday, January 6.
So far the reaction from players and fans has been overwhelmingly positive. Many turned to Twitter to voice their excitement for the new era to begin.
"I'm excited about the future for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," tweeted Darrelle Revis. "Heard some great things about Lovie Smith & can't wait to finally meet him."
"Lovie Smith...........," said Gerald McCoy. "Grade A!! Gonna be fun!!! Wonder what else they have in store!?! Hmmm..."
"So excited tonight," said Derrick Brooks "Bucs got better tonight with Lovie Smith coming back as the new H/C. Words can't describe my excitement."
Smith is set to become the highest paid coach in Bucs history. He sigend a four-year deal with an option for a fifth. The package could pay Smith more than $25-million.
Smith brings instant credibility to the Bucs and concern among teams from around the league.
In nine years with Chicago, Smith averaged nine wins a season, and he brings a wealth of NFL experience. He guided the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, and also the Rams as defensive coordinator in 2001.
Reaction to Smith's hiring is coming from everywhere around the country.
Herm Edwards, who was part of the Bucs turnaround when Tony Dungy hired him and Smith back in 1996, is in town and gives a ringing endorsement for the move by the Glazers.
"Excited for all the Tampa fans and for Lovie Smith especially, he's a personal friend of mine," Edwards said. "We were really in charge of that defense along with Tony Dungy. The fan base in Tampa, as much as we say it's a passing league, want to see some defense."
Edwards see quick success with Lovie's leadership with a team that has the talent to win.
"Lovie has some excellent players on that defense. They have a young quarterback, which is going to help. They have a good runner. So this team has some players. They'll be competitive in this division. This division, if you remember who won it this year, the Carolina Panthers. So anything can happen," he said.
It took Smith just two seasons to get the Bears to the NFC Champion after going 5-11 in his first year as a head coach. Smith believes he's a better coach now after sitting out a season.
"Lovie will bring a calmness to these guys," Edwards said. "He's a players' coach. He's got some discipline. This team will love playing for him and I know fans will enjoy watching Lovie Smith coach."
For those who think Smith's arrival means a quick exit for "Revis Island," the former Eagles legendary cornerback says wait a minute.
"People say he can't play in this system," said Edwards. "Yes, he can. This is not just 'Tampa 2'. It's a lot of what we call 'China' [mix of man-to-man and zone coverage]. Black coverage meaning man to man. So now they have one of the better corners in the National Football League. They have good secondary players."
"Revis was obviously coming the injury last year. As the season progressed, you saw that he was getting his skill level back. He'll be excited about playing for Lovie and the system. Lovie is smart enough to know that you have a man guy to play man to man like this. It just helps you. Now you can play for man coverage. Lovie is excited about having a player like this."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?