For the record, there was crying in Tampa, Fla., on the day they formally introduced Lovie Smith as the next Buccaneers head coach.
But not from Bucs fans who feared for their team's offense under Smith.
"That's my grandson,'' Smith told reporters at One Buc Place as Jackson Smith loudly announced his presence.
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The family acknowledgment early in Monday's news conference gave Smith a chance to chuckle, relax and remind everybody why he belongs back on an NFL sideline. Smith hadn't been behind the microphone as a head coach since Dec. 30, 2012, the day before the Bears fired him, and the rust showed.
Dressed in a dark suit and Buccaneer-red power tie, Smith initially looked more in command than he sounded thanking the Glazer family and his first NFL boss, Tony Dungy, with a voice revealing understandable anxiety. Gradually, Smith grew comfortable enough to kid about saving wife MaryAnne from wild monkeys during a Costa Rican vacation but stayed on message about a journey he hopes becomes more than sentimental.
"You always love the opportunity to come back home,'' said Smith, who coached Bucs linebackers from 1996-2000. "We have unfinished business.''
Viewing the glass half-full as Smith always recommended, the Buccaneers increased their chances of finishing that business by hiring the most qualified coach to coax production out of a potentially great defense. Seeing the glass half-empty, an occupational hazard, compels me to wonder whether Lovie's grandson might not be the last person heard near Raymond James Stadium protesting loudly if Smith controls the 53-man roster, as reports indicate.
As a talent evaluator with the Bears, Smith proved himself a capable head coach.
Nobody doubts Smith's ability to coach an NFL team that needs structure as badly as the Buccaneers. When Buccaneers executive vice president Bryan Glazer declared "it was obvious (Smith) was the right man at the right time,'' heads nodded in agreement out of respect for Smith's character. Nothing summed up what made Smith so appealing to the Bucs, and so popular with former players, better than his simple approach to leadership.
"If you're a leader of men … this is what I've found: They will do whatever you ask them to do if you look them in the eye and have a plan,'' Smith said convincingly.
When that plan involves running the Tampa-2 and stressing takeaways to complement a run-oriented offense on a drama-free team as Smith did in his best years with the Bears, nobody complains. But when the plan allows Smith more power over personnel, history says it produces mediocrity.
The Bears missed the playoffs in five of Smith's final six seasons after a post-Super Bowl power play when Smith began exerting the type of influence the Bucs just granted him. It was February 2007 when Smith, armed with a new contract, proclaimed "trust me'' after firing defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. A month later, Smith pushed to acquire safety Adam Archuleta. Later, he endorsed Devin Hester as a No. 1 wide receiver. Lest we forget linebacker Jamar Williams, who supposedly made Lance Briggs expendable.
The good easily outweighed the bad as Smith went 84-66 for the Bears, but thinking his coaching expertise expanded into player personnel marked the beginning of the end. Of all the valuable things Smith learned during his one-year sabbatical watching football in his basement and getting paid $5 million by the McCaskeys, realizing his limits as an NFL head coach wasn't among them. As he spoke about assembling a staff and adjusting his scheme around cornerback Darrelle Revis, Smith sounded like a guy whose to-do list included finding a general manager to groom. Who wouldn't want to hire his boss?
"I look at it as a marriage,'' Smith said. "As the head coach, most things stop at your doorstep. (But) I look forward to making decisions together.''
Smith's early staffing decisions with the Bucs inspired confidence: Jeff Tedford as offensive coordinator and former Vikings coach and '85 Bear Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator. Tedford, a "quarterback guru,'' in Smith's words, was Cal's head coach for 11 years that included Aaron Rodgers' development. Frazier believes in the same defensive philosophy and possesses similar personality traits — and obviously has gotten over being passed over for Perry Fewell in January 2005 as the Bears defensive backs coach.
Maybe free agents Charles Tillman and Hester will join the "Tampa Bay Bears.'' Maybe Smith can create a Chiefs-like turnaround for the Bucs next season and lead his team into the playoffs before his replacement, Marc Trestman, leads the Bears. Maybe quarterback Mike Glennon can play well enough to take Smith to the Super Bowl like the last quarterback he inherited after his rookie season.
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be a relevant team,'' Smith proclaimed.
Even Smith's toughest critics in Chicago must concede he brings the Bucs closer to being one.