Saturday, February 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ex-Bucs LB Nickerson agrees to return as assistant

TAMPA — Lovie Smith wished aloud to have a former Bucs player on his coaching staff and it was granted Tuesday when Hardy Nickerson agreed to return to Tampa Bay as an assistant coach.

Nickerson, a Bucs linebacker from 1993-99 who was named to five Pro Bowls, coached linebackers in 2007 on Smith's staff with the Bears. He is expected to coach linebackers for the Bucs.

"To bring back a guy like Hardy Nickerson, the tradition here with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of course, he was a big part of it. He knew how to play the linebacker position as well as anyone," Smith said Tuesday on SiriusXM Sports Radio.

Nickerson, 48, stepped down in November as football coach at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif.

Monday, Smith said of assembling his staff: "It would be great to get an old Buccaneer back on our staff. I'm not talking (just) about Derrick (Brooks) — it would be great to get an old Buccaneer back on the staff."

Brooks, the president of the Tampa Bay Storm, said he has not been offered a position with the Bucs. He was in Pasadena, Calif., Monday attending the BCS national championship game.

"It's a great move to get Hardy back here to coach this group,'' Brooks said. "He set the foundation years ago of the linebacker play and expectations on and off the field. He is a man of character who will work hard at his craft.

"I'm just excited to see him more often and will help him as much as he wants me to. Welcome back, Coach Hardware."

Smith said Monday he wanted strong teachers to fill out his staff.

"There's a lot that goes into it — some experience, some youth, guys with an expertise at certain things and just getting guys that can work together," Smith said. "I have spent a lot of time. That's why I was able to really move pretty quick on lining the guys up that I wanted. Assembling a coaching staff is one of the most important things you can do. What I was looking for in our coaching staff is stern teachers that can relate to players."

Nickerson inherits a strong group of linebackers led by Lavonte David, who was named to his first All-Pro team last week in his second pro season.

Nickerson played 16 seasons for the Steelers, Bucs, Jaguars and Packers. He was the first high-profile free agent to sign with the Bucs and was a cornerstone in the team's turnaround.

Nickerson mentored linebackers such as Brooks and Shelton Quarles and set a relentlessly aggressive tone in practice and in games. His leadership influenced others. Nickerson was a roommate in training camp with Warren Sapp in '95, Sapp's rookie year in a Hall of Fame career.

With the Bucs, Nickerson was named to five Pro Bowls, was a four-time All Pro and named to the '90s All-Decade team. He set the template for Bucs players off the field with charitable contributions and was named the Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year in 1997.

In 2006, Nickerson served as the Bucs' radio analyst. He left the next season to coach linebackers for Smith and the Bears. Health issues in his family forced him to resign after one season.

Nickerson is the eighth reported assistant on Smith's staff. A report Tuesday had Andrew Hayes-Stoker, an assistant receivers coach with the Bears from 2010-12 and an assistant at Florida International this past season, joining as receiver coach. Hayes-Stoker, 34, once backed up LaDainian Tomlinson at TCU.

"The staff is falling into place,'' Smith said. "We have a little bit to go, but we're making progress."

Comments
Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

TAMPA – Jameis Winston is heading for a big payday with the Bucs. He's played well enough to make that an easy decision.But what impact will that have on the type of players they surround him with?The Bucs are expected to exercise the fifth-yea...
Published: 02/16/18
Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

The Bucs continue to move quickly with the defensive line opening on Dirk Koetter's coaching staff, interviewing former Cardinals assistant Brentson Buckner.Buckner, 46, spent the last five years as Arizona's defensive line coach, leading the unit to...
Published: 02/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

It’s a Mailbag Friday as Rick Stroud answers your questions, including what will happen with the Jameis Winston investigation, who should the Bucs sign in free agency and would Warren Sapp make a good defensive line coach?Also, who will win more game...
Published: 02/16/18
Kevin Pamphile on Bucs’ O-line: ‘We’re not far from breaking through’

Kevin Pamphile on Bucs’ O-line: ‘We’re not far from breaking through’

Free agency is less than a month away, and the Bucs have several decisions to make about unrestricted free agents from their 2017 squad. One is Kevin Pamphile, who started all but one game at left guard last season but still split the job with backup...
Published: 02/16/18
Jameis Winston’s ‘Eat a W’ ritual lives on at Florida State

Jameis Winston’s ‘Eat a W’ ritual lives on at Florida State

Jameis Winston's pregame "Eat a 'W'" speech didn't go over too well the last time he gave it in front of the cameras and teammates.Before the Bucs-Saints game in New Orleans on Nov. 5, Winston formed a "W" with the fingers on his right hand and proce...
Published: 02/15/18
Browsing the Bucs’ needs and possible free-agent answers

Browsing the Bucs’ needs and possible free-agent answers

No sooner had the Bucs 5-11 season ended than coach Dirk Koetter identified the two areas his team needed to improve for 2018."I think we were 3-7 in one score games. You're going to have a hard time getting where you want to go when you win 30 perce...
Published: 02/15/18
Free agency preview: Brate, Humphries lead Bucs’ restricted free agents

Free agency preview: Brate, Humphries lead Bucs’ restricted free agents

NFL free agency is now just a month away, and as we begin the process of previewing the 2018 free agent class, we'll start with a less prominent part that is still relevant for the Bucs this year: restricted free agents.Unrestricted free agents have ...
Published: 02/14/18
Derrick Brooks to sign autographs at sub shop for charity

Derrick Brooks to sign autographs at sub shop for charity

A Tampa sub shop is offering fans a deal to help raise funds for former Bucs linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks' charity efforts.From Feb. 21 to Feb. 25 next week, the Jersey Mike's shop at 14839 North Dale Mabry Highway (inters...
Published: 02/13/18
The Bucs pass rush was so bad, Dirk Koetter sacked his friend

The Bucs pass rush was so bad, Dirk Koetter sacked his friend

TAMPA – It was friendly fire. The decision by Bucs coach Dirk Koetter to terminate a guy he's been buddies with for nearly 40 years was not an easy one. But defensive line coach Jay Hayes was let go last Friday, an apparent fall guy for the 5-1...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/13/18
Bucs D-line coach name to watch: former Colts DC Ted Monachino

Bucs D-line coach name to watch: former Colts DC Ted Monachino

The surprising firing of defensive line coach Jay Hayes on Friday is one that was difficult for Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.Not only had the Bucs picked up  the one-year club option on Hayes' contract, he and Koetter go back nearly 40 years when the...
Published: 02/12/18