The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to name former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as their new head coach, which could create an interesting scenario for one of Koetter's former players.
UPDATE: Tampa Bay made the Koetter hire official on Friday morning.
Veteran receiver Roddy White and Koetter have a close bond, and finishing his career in Tampa could become an option for White, with Koetter elevated from the Bucs' offensive coordinator. White had 1,351 receiving yards on 92 receptions with seven touchdowns in Koetter's system back in 2012.
Now, that's not to say such will happen by any means. The Falcons would have to part ways with White. And White, 34, said he wants to be a Falcon for life while finishing out the final two years of his contract. He wants to walk out of the home tunnel in 2017 when the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens. But his $6-plus million cap number next season is something the Falcons might have to live with since White has no interest in taking any sort of pay cut. And White's role diminished in Kyle Shanahan's offense this past season, so the Falcons are likely to target a younger receiver to help alleviate the defensive pressure faced by top target Julio Jones.
When asked about his time with White in Atlanta, Koetter had this to say to ESPN.com during the week leading into the regular-season finale.
"I tell friends of mine all the time that Roddy White is the single-most competitive football player I've ever met in my life," Koetter said. "I've just never been around a guy that his desire to win and compete would let him overcome injuries. He would do whatever it takes -- whether it be blocking, catching, running with the football -- just whatever you needed to help you win a game, Roddy would try to do it."
The respect is mutual.
"Dirk's my guy, but he's watched me and how I grinded over the years, just dealing with injuries and going out there playing football," White said of Koetter. "He knows me in and out as a player; my strengths and my weaknesses. He put me in a lot of positions to make plays in his offense, and I had a lot of success. It's just kudos to him to say I'm one of the toughest guys he's ever been around, that he's ever coached. That speaks volumes of how I've just tried to come to work and be on my game to help our team win."
When the Falcons played at Tampa Bay during the regular season, White and Koetter shared a pre-game moment, with White giving Koetter a big bear hug.
Again, no one is saying a reunion between the two will occur. In fact, Falcons coach Dan Quinn speaking about White's leadership qualities near the end of the season seemed to indicate that he wants White around moving forward. And team owner Arthur Blank is a White fan and even offered the receiver support early in the season when White wasn't getting as many touches. (White finished the 2015 season with 43 receptions for 506 yards and one touchdown.)
But, as White told ESPN.com at the end of the season, he'll have options. Joining Koetter just might be one of them.