Schiano: 'I was angry' at Bucs' interest in Kelly

Schiano: 'I was angry' at Bucs' interest in Kelly

Eagle Eye: What to expect from Glennon

October 9, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Greg Schiano led the Bucs to a 7-9 record in his first season as head coach. (USA Today Images)

Two years ago, Greg Schiano really liked his job. He was the head coach of Rutgers football. He had brought moderate success to New Jersey’s long-struggling program. Industry insiders took notice of his work.

Some places showed interest, Schiano said Wednesday. But none could convince him into packing up and moving on. Even after he interviewed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Schiano didn’t have his luggage waiting by the door.

Well, not until Chip Kelly came along.

Not until Schiano heard reports of the Bucs' closing in on a long-term deal with the former Oregon coach did coaching in the NFL feel like his destiny. And he wondered if his fate had twisted in the wrong direction.

“That’s kind of the reason I knew I really wanted the job,” Schiano, the Bucs’ second-year coach said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters covering the Eagles. Tampa Bay plays host to the Eagles on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

“I really loved my time at Rutgers and had plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere, and at the end I just never felt like it was right. One of the things that actually really led me to believe that this was the time was when I thought that Chip had accepted the job, I was angry. I was disappointed, is a better word probably. So that kind of told me that I did want it.”

You know the rest. Kelly spurned Tampa’s offer and returned to Oregon for one more season, then spurned offers by the Browns and Eagles one year later, only to change his mind and decide to accept the Eagles’ job.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kelly said turning down Tampa in favor of Oregon wasn’t a difficult decision (see story).

Schiano improved Tampa in his first season from 4-12 to 7-9, toughening the Bucs’ defense and centering the team’s offense on first-round running back Doug Martin. This year, the Bucs are winless in four games and have already parted ways with quarterback Josh Freeman in favor of third-round rookie Mike Glennon.

Schiano still thinks Tampa Bay is an improving team and believes he made the right decision to leave Rutgers.

“Sometimes you don’t realize you want something until you don’t have it,” he said, “and then in a few hours there was an opportunity to maybe be involved with it again and that’s when I kind of said, ‘You know what? I really do want to do this,’ and fortunately it worked out.

“It’s a great organization that I work for, great ownership, a great [general manager] in Mark Dominik and I’m excited. I think we have a good football team. We struggled to start the season but I’m optimistic going forward that we’re going to play good football.”