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Buccaneers introduce GM Licht

The SportsXchange

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced Jason Licht as their new general manager on Thursday.

Licht, who was named GM on Tuesday, spent the previous two years in the Arizona Cardinals' front office, including last season as vice president of player personnel.

"I'm a meathead that likes to watch football players," Licht said at the press conference. "I'm not going to try to be something I'm not."

Licht, 42, has the huge task with building a roster that can lead the Buccaneers back to the playoffs.

"Our philosophy is going to be to build through the draft, that's where we find our stars, that's where we find the next generation, but also in the short term and long term we're going to supplement our roster through free agency but we're going to look for value," Licht said. "We're going to spend wisely."

The Bucs were impressed that twice Licht returned to teams he had left years earlier for promotions elsewhere.

"You don't see that very often in the NFL. Rarely see it once, let alone twice," Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said. "It's the person he is, good family, good background. I think he'll be a good fit in the community in Tampa."

Licht mentioned the long hours spent talking to college assistants about potential draft picks. He was in the stands with Cardinals scouts watching Senior Bowl practice Tuesday morning at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., when the Bucs made their decision to hire him.

"If you called me a scout, I won't be upset," Licht said,

Licht didn't have the direct experience working with new head coach Lovie Smith that other candidates offered. But Licht got to know Smith when he interviewed for the Bears' GM job two years ago.

"From the initial interview, there were a lot of things we had in common," said Smith, who was named head coach on Jan. 2. "It's how we saw (things) going forward and putting a successful team on the field. And, from there, every time we talked, it just confirmed it more."

Licht also spoke highly of the Bucs' new head coach.

"Lovie's track record speaks for itself," Licht said. "I've never ... run across a player that's played for Lovie and hasn't said such great things about him. It's just the synergy and the energy in the air. I have strong belief this is going to be a successful season, and it starts with that optimism.

"The better teams in the NFL that compete in the playoffs year after year are the teams that draft the best, and that's what Lovie, myself and our staff is going to do."

Licht previously worked in the front offices of the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

The Bucs' general manager position opened up after the season, when the team let go GM Mark Dominik as well as head coach Greg Schiano.
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