The day former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was fired, along with coach Greg Schiano, he walked down to the media center at One Buc Place to say goodbye to the local beat writers. Trying to stay composed, with little luck, Dominik turned before walking out and said to no one in particular, “19 years. I love this team."
For 19 years Dominik drove his car every day to the facility as an employee in a number of positions before being hired as the general manager in 2009, but at that moment he wasn’t sure what the future held. On Thursday, Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune reported that Dominik has landed on his feet, and after contemplating joining Dennis Hickey in Miami, the Minnesota native has joined ESPN as an NFL Front Office Insider and will make his television debut with the network March 27.
“I have spent more than 20 years working in NFL front offices and the exciting thing is that I can now share the inside thoughts of what happens when certain situations arise within an organization,’’ Dominik told Cummings. “I can explain to people how teams think.
“A lot of people thought this might be a good decision for me in terms of career path so I’m very excited about it.’’
Dominik said he considered joining Dennis Hickey in Miami where his former right hand man in Tampa is the now the general manager for the Dolphins.
“The opportunity to stay in Tampa with my family was part of it,’’ said Dominik, who is married and has three young children. “And ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports for a reason. So, this just felt like the right decision.’’
ESPN’s senior coordinating producer Seth Markman was happy to have Dominik aboard.
“Mark has almost two decades of experience moving up the ranks in an NFL organization, so he’s well-versed in scouting, free agency, player development and so many of the issues we delve into each day on NFL Insiders,” Markman said. “He adds another credible voice to our team and will make us even better.”
Dominik, who was 28-52 with no playoff appearances and only one winning season during his five seasons as general manager, is still keeping a close eye on his former team in Tampa Bay.
“It’s been fun to watch,’’ Dominik said of the 10 free-agent signings by new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht.
“I have a lot of respect for Lovie and Jason and I’m glad they’re able to do what they’ve done. That was the whole idea behind the contract structure we created and had there.’’