Tampa Bay Buccaneers Finally Focus on Greg Schiano, Deal in Works?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IJanuary 26, 2012

Greg Schiano got a big endorsement from Bill Belichick.
Greg Schiano got a big endorsement from Bill Belichick.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Barring a last-minute Chip Kelly hit-and-run, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to introduce Greg Schiano from Rutgers as their new head coach as soon as today.

Reports emerged from virtually all sources, ESPN, the NFL Network, Tampa sports radio station WDAE 620, the Tampa Bay Times and the Tampa Tribune, that the Bucs are finalizing the deal with the man who resurrected the Scarlet Knights program.

Schiano had been rumored for the past few years as the eventual replacement for the late Joe Paterno at Penn State and might have ended up there had it not been for the scandals that led to the firing of the coaching icon.

Those who watch USF football have seen Schiano up close and personal. He's a defensive guy and his Rutgers teams are known for their toughness and fundamentals.

What may have pushed Schiano into the eyes of the team owners—the Glazers—was the endorsement from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who feels that Schiano will be a solid NFL coach.

Schiano proved once again that the ongoing Mike Sherman interviews were simply a smokescreen. The list of NFL assistants that had been interviewed only masked the apparent determination of the Glazers to go with a college coach.

Schiano has NFL experience. He was with the Chicago Bears for three years, 1996-1998, and eventually became their defensive backs coach. He was the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and had nice success there, which led Rutgers to hire him.He took over a lousy Rutgers program and led it to national prominence and he garnered a lot of awards and recognition in the process.

He has produced a lot of current NFL players, including Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who is an unrestricted free agent this year.

Would Ray Rice have in interest in reuniting with his old college coach?

Imagine that.