Lovie Smith hired by Tampa Bay Buccaneers as coach

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 Glazerfirst 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, formerSeahawks 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.

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