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Lovie Smith: Lavonte David will be taken care of

TAMPA, Fla. -- As a general rule, Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith doesn’t talk about contract matters involving his players.

But Smith stepped out of character Friday when asked if fans should be worried that linebacker Lavonte David hasn’t been signed to a contract extension. Smith emphatically said a new deal will come.

“Lavonte will be taken care of,’’ Smith said. “You can go back to any shot that I’ve given on Lavonte David and how I feel about him. No one loves him more than I do. When I say I, [I] mean we as an organization. He will be taken care of. In time, we’ll get this taken care of. Of course there are negotiations going on, but Lavonte hasn’t missed a beat.’’

David reported to camp on Friday, so he’s not holding out. But something needs to be done about his contract quickly.

David is in the final year of his rookie deal, and the Bucs need to make sure he doesn’t get anywhere near free agency.