TAMPA, Fla. -- From what I remember of Lovie Smith as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' linebackers coach back in the 1990s, he's not prone to hyperbole.
That's why it was a little surprising to hear what he had to say about linebacker Lavonte David on the day he was officially introduced as the Buccaneers' head coach. Smith compared David to the best linebacker in franchise history.
“There’s not a lot of players like Derrick Brooks," Smith said. “It’s not even fair to compare some guys in that way. But, Lavonte David, he has a chance. He’s that younger version coming up. I hear he’s a great guy."
David had a breakout year in his second NFL season. He became just the seventh player in history to record at least five sacks and at least five interceptions in the same season. He also was named first-team All Pro.
But I think we’ve only seen the start of what David can do. Smith was Brooks’ position coach early in his career. Now, Smith is getting another very good young linebacker and he might be able to mold him into the next Brooks.