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Tim Spencer
Running Backs Coach

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Biography

Tim Spencer begins his fourth season as running backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017.

The 2016 season saw the Buccaneers go through four different starters at running back, but still manage to see success, most notably from running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who had a career-high and team-leading 560 rushing yards, including his first two career 100-yard rushing games. Spencer also assisted in the development of running back Peyton Barber, who joined the team as a college free agent and finished the year having played in 15 contests, totaling 251 yards from scrimmage, with a 44-yard touchdown run to seal a Week 7 victory at San Francisco.

In 2015, Spencer was named Pro Football Focus’ “Running Backs Coach of the Year,” after helping Buccaneers running back Doug Martin earn first-team AP All-Pro Honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl. Martin rushed 288 times for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns. His 1,402 rushing yards were the second-most in the NFL and the third-most in team history. His 4.87 yards per carry stand as the highest mark in the NFL by any running back with at least 250 carries since 2013 (LeSean McCoy, 5.12 on 314 carries) and is the most in team history among running backs with at least 250 carries in a season.

In addition to Martin’s banner season, second-year running back Charles Sims totaled 1,090 scrimmage yards (107 rushes for 529 yards, 51 catches for 561 yards). Sims averaged 6.9 yards per touch, the most by any player in the NFL with at least 150 touches since 2011 (Darren Sproles in 2011, 7.6 avg.). Martin and Sims’ combined 2,566 yards from scrimmage were the most by a running back duo in the NFL in 2015 and set a franchise record for backfield teammates. The Buccaneers finished the year rushing for 2,162 yards (135.1 per game), the second-most in a single season in team history and the fifth-most in the NFL last year.

Dealing with an injury-plagued running backs group in 2014, Spencer managed to coax performances out of all three of the main runners. Doug Martin led the team in rushing, including two performances of 90+ rushing yards in the final three games of the season. Bobby Rainey showed his versatility, rushing 94 times while catching 33 passes, averaging 5.7 scrimmage yards per touch, the second-highest average by a running back. Charles Sims, who started the season on the Injured Reserve/Designated to Return list, saw his first game action in Week 10 and, over the final eight games of the year, racked up 190 receiving yards – the seventh-highest mark by a running back during that span.

Spencer served as running backs coach for the Chicago Bears for nine seasons (2004-12). Spencer had great success tutoring Chicago’s ball carriers, with individual players recording 1,000-yard rushing seasons on five different occasions (Thomas Jones – 2005-06; Matt Forté – 2008, 2010, 2012), and the team surpassing the 2,000-yard rushing mark twice (2005, 2011), marking the only two times such a feat has been accomplished in Bears history, and coming less than 100 yards shy of that mark in 2006.

Under Spencer’s guidance, Forté blossomed, breaking franchise rookie records in 2008 in rushing yards (1,238), yards from scrimmage (1,715) and receptions (63) and becoming one of just one of eight rookies in NFL history to rush for 1,000-plus yards and record 50-plus receptions. In Forté’s five seasons with Spencer, the running back became the first player for Chicago to record 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his first five NFL seasons, the first player in franchise history with 900 rushing yards in each of his first five seasons with the team and the first running back in franchise history with 400 receiving yards in four seasons. Forté was selected to the Pro Bowl following his 2011 campaign in which he ranked third in the NFL in scrimmage yards per game (123.9) and sixth in rushing yards per game (83.1). 

During Spencer’s time with the Bears, Chicago running backs claimed six of the top seven single-season reception totals at the position in team history and compiled 15,472 yards on 3,939 carries.

Spencer began his coaching career at The Ohio State University, where he tutored running backs from 1994-2003. With the Buckeyes, Spencer coached Eddie George during George’s Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1995 and during the team’s national championship season in 2002. He was part of three Big Ten championship teams and his position group helped an OSU offense that led the Big Ten in scoring offense and total offense in three of his 10 seasons. Including George (twice), he produced 1,000-yard rushers on six occasions.

A Buckeye running back himself, Spencer played for OSU from 1979-1982, leading the team in rushing during his final two seasons and closing his career with 3,553 yards on the ground and serving as a senior co-captain and team MVP. Spencer was the second-overall pick in the 1983 USFL draft, where he played one year each for Chicago (1983), Arizona (1984), and Memphis (1985), before playing for the San Diego Chargers (1985-90), where he was a four-year starter at fullback.

Spencer and his wife, Gilda, have two sons, Cole and Evan.

SPENCER AT A GLANCE

YEARS

POSITION

1979-82

Ohio State, Player

1983

Chicago Blitz (USFL), Player

1984

Arizona Wranglers (USFL), Player

1985

Memphis Showboats (USFL), Player

1985-90

San Diego Chargers, Player

1994-2003

Ohio State, Running Backs Coach

2004-12

Chicago Bears, Running Backs Coach

2014-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Running Backs Coach

Tim Spencer begins his fourth season as running backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017.

The 2016 season saw the Buccaneers go through four different starters at running back, but still manage to see success, most notably from running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who had a career-high and team-leading 560 rushing yards, including his first two career 100-yard rushing games. Spencer also assisted in the development of running back Peyton Barber, who joined the team as a college free agent and finished the year having played in 15 contests, totaling 251 yards from scrimmage, with a 44-yard touchdown run to seal a Week 7 victory at San Francisco.

In 2015, Spencer was named Pro Football Focus’ “Running Backs Coach of the Year,” after helping Buccaneers running back Doug Martin earn first-team AP All-Pro Honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl. Martin rushed 288 times for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns. His 1,402 rushing yards were the second-most in the NFL and the third-most in team history. His 4.87 yards per carry stand as the highest mark in the NFL by any running back with at least 250 carries since 2013 (LeSean McCoy, 5.12 on 314 carries) and is the most in team history among running backs with at least 250 carries in a season.

In addition to Martin’s banner season, second-year running back Charles Sims totaled 1,090 scrimmage yards (107 rushes for 529 yards, 51 catches for 561 yards). Sims averaged 6.9 yards per touch, the most by any player in the NFL with at least 150 touches since 2011 (Darren Sproles in 2011, 7.6 avg.). Martin and Sims’ combined 2,566 yards from scrimmage were the most by a running back duo in the NFL in 2015 and set a franchise record for backfield teammates. The Buccaneers finished the year rushing for 2,162 yards (135.1 per game), the second-most in a single season in team history and the fifth-most in the NFL last year.

Dealing with an injury-plagued running backs group in 2014, Spencer managed to coax performances out of all three of the main runners. Doug Martin led the team in rushing, including two performances of 90+ rushing yards in the final three games of the season. Bobby Rainey showed his versatility, rushing 94 times while catching 33 passes, averaging 5.7 scrimmage yards per touch, the second-highest average by a running back. Charles Sims, who started the season on the Injured Reserve/Designated to Return list, saw his first game action in Week 10 and, over the final eight games of the year, racked up 190 receiving yards – the seventh-highest mark by a running back during that span.

Spencer served as running backs coach for the Chicago Bears for nine seasons (2004-12). Spencer had great success tutoring Chicago’s ball carriers, with individual players recording 1,000-yard rushing seasons on five different occasions (Thomas Jones – 2005-06; Matt Forté – 2008, 2010, 2012), and the team surpassing the 2,000-yard rushing mark twice (2005, 2011), marking the only two times such a feat has been accomplished in Bears history, and coming less than 100 yards shy of that mark in 2006.

Under Spencer’s guidance, Forté blossomed, breaking franchise rookie records in 2008 in rushing yards (1,238), yards from scrimmage (1,715) and receptions (63) and becoming one of just one of eight rookies in NFL history to rush for 1,000-plus yards and record 50-plus receptions. In Forté’s five seasons with Spencer, the running back became the first player for Chicago to record 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his first five NFL seasons, the first player in franchise history with 900 rushing yards in each of his first five seasons with the team and the first running back in franchise history with 400 receiving yards in four seasons. Forté was selected to the Pro Bowl following his 2011 campaign in which he ranked third in the NFL in scrimmage yards per game (123.9) and sixth in rushing yards per game (83.1). 

During Spencer’s time with the Bears, Chicago running backs claimed six of the top seven single-season reception totals at the position in team history and compiled 15,472 yards on 3,939 carries.

Spencer began his coaching career at The Ohio State University, where he tutored running backs from 1994-2003. With the Buckeyes, Spencer coached Eddie George during George’s Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1995 and during the team’s national championship season in 2002. He was part of three Big Ten championship teams and his position group helped an OSU offense that led the Big Ten in scoring offense and total offense in three of his 10 seasons. Including George (twice), he produced 1,000-yard rushers on six occasions.

A Buckeye running back himself, Spencer played for OSU from 1979-1982, leading the team in rushing during his final two seasons and closing his career with 3,553 yards on the ground and serving as a senior co-captain and team MVP. Spencer was the second-overall pick in the 1983 USFL draft, where he played one year each for Chicago (1983), Arizona (1984), and Memphis (1985), before playing for the San Diego Chargers (1985-90), where he was a four-year starter at fullback.

Spencer and his wife, Gilda, have two sons, Cole and Evan.

SPENCER AT A GLANCE

YEARS

POSITION

1979-82

Ohio State, Player

1983

Chicago Blitz (USFL), Player

1984

Arizona Wranglers (USFL), Player

1985

Memphis Showboats (USFL), Player

1985-90

San Diego Chargers, Player

1994-2003

Ohio State, Running Backs Coach

2004-12

Chicago Bears, Running Backs Coach

2014-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Running Backs Coach