Last Thursday, General Manager Jason Licht joined the Buccaneers' broadcast team in the third quarter of the team's preseason game against Miami to announce that the Bucs had agreed to terms with cornerback Tim Jennings.
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Jennings, a two-time Pro Bowler, signed his contract on Monday and moments later, he met with the Tampa media for the first time as a Buccaneer. For Jennings, who was released by the Bears at the end of August, joining the Bucs meant re-uniting with his former coach, Lovie Smith. Jennings said the comfort level with his former coach helped contribute to his decision to sign with Tampa Bay.
"(Coach Smith's) a man that cares about guys," Jennings said. "It was like a no-brainer once we reconnected. It was like we never missed a beat.
"It was (an) easy (decision) once I came here on the visit and I walked in the building and saw a lot of familiar faces. I saw a lot of the guys I played with, coaching staff that I played with for a while. The comfort level was already there. As far as it being comfortable, being a place where you are wanted and feel comfortable in the system and then come in and play right away – it was a no brainer."
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As far as Jennings' role on the team, Smith is sure that the veteran can help improve the Bucs' defensive backfield.
"There are steps he has to go through, but in time he will be able to contribute for us," Smith said. "He's a good football player. We wouldn't have brought him here (if he wasn't). I have seen him in a lot of different situations. I've lined up with him in a lot of games, so I think I know what we are going to get."
Jennings, who has 20 interceptions and 383 tackles in his nine years in the league, joins cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks, who have been working as the starters, along with Sterling Moore and Mike Jenkins. Moore has been working as the Bucs' nickel back.