TAMPA — In discussing the firing of coach Lovie Smith, Bucs general manager Jason Licht on Thursday explained one much-criticized detail — how Smith heard the news over the phone and not in person.
Licht said he talked with the Glazer family Wednesday night, and that they had made the decision to fire Smith and expressed a desire to meet him in person Thursday.
"Shortly thereafter, I received a call from Lovie. … During that phone call, my respect for Lovie as a friend, I let him know that ownership was planning on getting together with him (Thursday)," Licht said. "I wanted to let him know that I didn't think it was going to go in a very good direction and let him know what it was. He said, 'You can just have Joel (Glazer) call me.' Joel called him. Joel, first thing he said was 'Lovie, I'd like to get together with you.' Lovie told him, 'I understand what it's about.' (Joel) said, 'Let's just don't talk about that, let's get together and talk about it.'
"Lovie gracefully declined, very polite, the only way Lovie can do it, said, 'I would just rather do it this way.' This was after several attempts from our ownership, Joel in particular, to fly here and meet with him. Lovie then came last night and cleaned out his office."