Lovie Smith continues to put his coaching staff together at a rapid pace, indicative of a man who came to town with a plan.
On Friday, the Buccaneers named Gill Byrd their cornerbacks coach under Smith, who became the franchise’s 10th head coach on January 2. That comes one day after 11 other assistants were officially introduced
, bringing the total to 14 coaches added by Smith in just over a week. Offensive Coordinator Jeff Tedford
and Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
were the first two hires to Smith’s staff.
The addition of Byrd completes the group of primary position coaches on defense under Frazier. Joe Cullen will tutor the defensive line, Hardy Nickerson is in charge of the linebackers and Mikal Smith will coach the safeties. An All-Pro cornerback himself with the San Diego Chargers, Byrd has been coaching NFL defensive backs since 2003 with the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears.
Byrd spent seven seasons (2006-12) working under Smith in Chicago. He started as a defensive quality control coach before becoming the Bears’ assistant defensive backs coach in 2007 and then the safeties coach in 2008. He held that position through the last five years of Smith’s tenure in Chicago. Prior to his time in Chicago, Byrd worked in St. Louis as a defensive assistant (2003-04) and as an assistant secondary coach (2006).
Byrd finished his 10-year NFL career, all with the Chargers, in 1992, but he remains San Diego’s all-time leader in interceptions (42) and interception return yards (546). He was inducted into the Chargers’ Hall of Fame in 1998.
Byrd made the Pro Bowl following the 1991 and 1992 seasons and was an All-Pro selection on four occasions (1989-92). He and his wife, Marilyn, have two sons, Gill Jr. and Jairus. Gill, Jr., was a three-year letterman at New Mexico State. Jairus played at Oregon and is now an All-Pro safety for the Buffalo Bills. Jairus Byrd will play in his third Pro Bowl later this month.
After his retirement as a player, Byrd next returned to the NFL with the Green Bay Packers as their executive director/player programs and community affairs, a position he held for three seasons (1999-2001).