TAMPA — General manager Mark Dominik not only has been able to navigate the offseason amid the NFL lockout, he also has dealt with some real labor uncertainty.
Dominik and his wife, Amy, welcomed the arrival of their third child, a girl, Avery Jane, on March 24. On Monday, Dominik's successful nurturing of the youngest team in the NFL earned him a new four-year contract with the Bucs.
"It's been really fun growing up with the Bucs," said Dominik, 40, "and having been around so many guys who have been promoted to different levels in the National Football League from the executive side and so many guys who have come through our building and become head coaches.
"I guess that's the one thing that has been the most rewarding through this whole thing: It's 16 years now, and it'll be 20 years by the time this contract expires. It's pretty neat to work with all the people who have come through and all the players as well."
Dominik, who began his career with the Bucs in 1995, was promoted steadily from pro personnel assistant, scout, coordinator of pro personnel and director of pro personnel before being named GM in 2009. Last season, Dominik presided over the biggest turnaround in franchise history as the Bucs went from 3-13 to 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs.
Dominik said he had a front-row seat to some of the best executives, coaches and players in football. He worked with Falcons general manager Rich McKay, Bears GM Jerry Angelo, assistant GM Tim Ruskell and coach Lovie Smith, Redskins GM Bruce Allen, former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy, former Jets and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards and former Lions coach Rod Marinelli, now the Bears defensive coordinator — to name a few.
Dominik had one year left on his contract and is now signed through 2014. The Bucs picked up a two-year option on coach Raheem Morris' deal in January.
"I think the main thing is the direction we're headed is one that everybody wants to go — myself, obviously ownership, the head coach, the scouts and our position coaches," Dominik said. "I think everybody is on the same ship, and we are going the right direction. The encouragement of a deal or the extension is the fact that ownership concurs, and that's what you're looking for. Obviously, at the same time, you're judged by wins and losses, and last year was a really good step to where we want to be."
Dominik didn't waste time putting his handprint on the Bucs. He immediately purged many popular veterans, including Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn, while drafting a core of young stars like quarterback Josh Freeman, receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn and safety Cody Grimm and trading for tight end Kellen Winslow. Last season, Dominik raided opposing rosters for rookies like running back LeGarrette Blount and guard Ted Larsen.
"It has been a pleasure working with a person and a talent like Mark and so gratifying to witness his well-deserved success," co-chairman Joel Glazer said. "By the end of this contract, Mark will have dedicated two decades to giving Tampa the winner it deserves."
So what have the past three weeks been like for Dominik?
"It's been a busy three weeks. Really, it's been a busy offseason," he said. "You continue to prepare for everything, free agency and the draft and obviously, your home. It's been nonstop, but that's the way the football world is now even with the uncertainty of the labor situation."