Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Lovie Smith: Extending McCoy’s contract is ‘very important’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new head coach in Lovie Smith, and he has already identified the corner stone of his defense. Smith says extending defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s contract is “very important.”

“I think it’s very important. In an ideal situation, you do a great job of drafting players and then you reward your players that have come up through the system and done it the right way,” Smith said, via “The first guy to contact me when I was sitting in my basement down there in Chicago was Gerald McCoy. [He said], ‘I can’t wait to get started.’ I followed him at the University of Oklahoma, his career that he had here, and for our defense, and there’s a reason why. [Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle] Warren [Sapp] will tell you it was just him, but it’s a position also where you need a special player and Gerald McCoy is that.

“The guys who drafted him did a great job. You know what he’s done in the community. I know right now coming in he’s going to be one of our leaders. Through free agency, [he said] ‘What can I do?’ Gerald was popping up on the phone quite a bit, texting me, excited about who we’re getting, what we’re doing with his new teammates. So yes, that is definitely a priority. He’s a guy that we definitely want around for a while, to say the least.”

Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers