Nov 17, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders wear boots from their original team logo for a halftime display as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Atlanta Falcons 41-28 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Hardy Nickerson Hired as Assistant Coach for Lovie Smith’s Staff with Tampa Bay Buccaneers


During his introductory press conference, new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith told the assembled media that former Buccaneers were welcome at any time at One Buc Place. Smith explained that the franchise needs to call upon its traditions and put pressure on new players to meet the standards set by previous Bucs greats.

No position group will feel more pressure than the linebackers, who will have a familiar face coaching them from the sidelines in 2014.

Nickerson coached under Lovie Smith in Chicago for a year, but left due to family health concerns. He would get back into coaching in 2010 as the head coach of a high school football team in California. He had a great deal of success in charge as a high school coach, but after three years he left the job to pursue other opportunities.

As it turns out, re-joining Lovie Smith was the opportunity he was waiting for.

The Buccaneers already have one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Lavonte David, but have received mixed results from middle linebacker Mason Foster, and will likely have a new starter at strongside linebacker in 2014. And even if familiar faces like Dekoda Watson or Jonathan Casillas return to Tampa Bay, they’ll receive a huge boost from the tutoring of Hardy Nickerson.

With the hiring of Nickerson, it’s reasonable to expect that other former Buccaneers who have an interest and proven ability to coach or lead will have a role in Tampa Bay under Lovie Smith. Derrick Brooks comes to mind as a potential addition to the front office, although that isn’t a decision that Smith can make on his own.

Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber and John Lynch have moved to the television side of the NFL, but there may be other former Buccaneers who return to Tampa to work for Lovie Smith. Are there any names you’d like to see back in Tampa as a part of Smith’s staff? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Kyle

    Don’t know why, but Donnie Abraham always has been a guy that I wonder about. Seemed to understand a lot about the game, would be interested in him as DB coach maybe.

    • LeoTPP

      He’s a high school football coach, so he definitely has a desire to be a coach. Would definitely be a name to keep an eye on.

  • Ahmad Gresham

    Bring Mike Alston in imagine what he can
    do with Martin Rainey and Leonard

  • Ahmad Gresham

    Alston. Dam auto correct

  • Ahmad Gresham

    Alstott dammit

  • Chris, Pittsburgh.

    There was a tight end who played in the 1990s named Dave Moore. Dave was a very solid player. He could teach the tight ends much.

    • LeoTPP

      He was the first name I thought of, as well. I think he’d be a great fit.

  • Tom Weissmann

    Warrick Dunn. He’s the same type of shifty runner as Martin minus the build. He was a very good pass catcher out of the backfield as well. I think Lovie already has a RB coach in place though.

    • Tom Weissmann

      Never mind. Just read he owns a minority stake in the Falcons ownership. Traitor lol.

      • LeoTPP

        Haha yeah, that’s the thing. A lot of former Bucs are doing other things than just waiting to coach.

    • Tom Weissmann

      It would be very helpful if Simeon Rice would get a call. I mean, he was Tampa’s last player to get double digit sacks in a season. He was a strong leader during his time in Tampa and that leadership along with his defensive knowledge and abilities, would greatly help our defensive line.

  • Chris, Pittsburgh.

    I went to school with Dave at Pitt. I met him in one of my classes. He was nice guy, down to earth. If he wants to get into coaching, Tampa would be lucky to have him.