TAMPA — Bucs coach Lovie Smith made it clear on the first night of the NFL draft that Mike Glennon is his team's "quarterback of the future," but the second-year pro said Tuesday he had been reassured of that status throughout recent months.
The Bucs signed veteran Josh McCown and have him as the starter, but Glennon said Smith called him twice during the draft process — amid talk of Tampa Bay taking a quarterback and trading Glennon — to make sure he knew his place in the team's future plans was unchanged.
"It was communicated a while ago, both with Lovie and (GM) Jason (Licht)," Glennon said after the first organized team activity practice. "We sat down and they discussed what the plans were for the draft and moving forward. They told me this all along, that I was their guy moving forward. Right now, it's a different situation with Josh here … I'm looking forward to this season, still competing, still helping the team in any way I can."
Glennon, a 24-year-old who was a third-round pick from N.C. State last year, started 13 games, throwing for a team rookie record 19 touchdowns against nine interceptions. As speculation grew before the draft that the Bucs could take Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, there were reports they could trade Glennon for a draft pick if they made such a move.
"Lovie called me twice to tell me that wasn't the case, he doesn't know where it's coming from," Glennon said. "He was very open and honest with me, how he feels now and how he feels going forward. … I knew what was happening the whole time."
Having a mentor in the 34-year-old McCown will aid in Glennon's development, and he said his interaction with the former Bears quarterback has already helped him this spring.
"It's been great so far," he said. "He's just so far advanced in his knowledge. He's been around the game for, I don't know what it is now, 12 years. … Me only being in one, I can compare notes. He offers a lot of advice that not many guys know. He's really like another coach out there for me, a coach that's been through this for a long time now. He genuinely wants to help me, and that's what's great about him."
The Bucs may need both quarterbacks — McCown hasn't started more than nine games in any season since starting 13 in 2004. He was stellar in five starts for Chicago last year (13 touchdowns, one interception), but had started only two games total in the previous five seasons.
Glennon said Smith was up front about his comfort level with McCown from having him parts of two seasons in Chicago. Smith said McCown's natural leadership played a role in his decision to name him the starter upon his arrival.
"That quarterback leader that you have, you need to trust him completely, on and off the football field, and that's definitely the case with Josh," Smith said. "Josh will talk to anyone that wants to listen. For the rookies, they want to ask him questions and he's willing to give all the information he has."