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DC Mike Smith signs deal with Bucs, says he won't pursue head coaching jobs

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Mike Smith, defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stands on the field during pregame warmups prior to facing the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 11, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 11: Mike Smith, defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stands on the field during pregame warmups prior to facing the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 11, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Published Jan. 14, 2017

TAMPA — Defensive coordinator Mike Smith signed a multiyear contract extension with the Bucs, saying that for the next couple of years, he will forgo pursuing head coaching jobs to remain in Tampa Bay.

Terms were not released.

Locking up Smith for several years could be big for the Bucs since the former Falcons head coach figured to be in the mix each offseason for a head coaching job.

Smith, 57, had interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Jaguars and Chargers. On Thursday he withdrew from consideration for the Chargers job.

"While I did have a chance to speak with a few organizations about their head coaching opportunities earlier this offseason, it became very clear to me that I'm in an ideal situation here with the Buccaneers," Smith said in a statement released Friday. "For the next couple years, I am fully committed and focused on my role with Dirk (Koetter) and the organization and will not be pursuing head coaching opportunities during this time."

Bucs coach Koetter, who hired Smith last January, was happy to see Smith remain to help build on the Bucs' 9-7 season.

"Mike Smith is simply one of the best coaches I have had the opportunity to work with, and I'm thrilled to know that he is committed to remain with us for the foreseeable future," Koetter said. "In addition to being a great teacher on the field and in the meeting rooms, Mike has consistently been able to get the most out of his players, and that was never more evident than this past season."

Smith led a group that ranked 23rd in the 32-team league in total defense but was 15th in points allowed, showing a huge improvement in the final eight games. It ranked third in takeaways with 29 and ranked first in third-down defense as opponents converted 34.4 percent of their chances, improving from 30th.

"I'm excited what we're building here in Tampa Bay," Smith said. "I think we grew quite a bit as a defense this past season, and I look forward to working with my staff and our players to continue building upon what we have started."