Former head coach Lovie Smith’s firing over the telephone rubbed some the wrong way, but general manager Jason Licht said that wasn’t the organization’s intention. Here’s how conversations went down between Licht and Smith and co-owner Joel Glazer and Smith, according to the general manager.
“I had a phone call with ownership last night, and, at that point, they had gathered all their information and had made a decision,” Licht said during a Thursday press conference to address Smith’s dismissal. “They wanted to get together with Lovie today, in person, and inform him that they were going to relieve him of his duties. Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Lovie.
“As a general manager and head coach, especially with our relationship, we call each other quite a bit. During that phone call, my respect for Lovie as a friend, I let him know that ownership was planning on getting together with him today and I wanted to let him know that I didn’t think it was going to go in a very good direction and let him know what it was.
“[Smith] said, ‘You can just have Joel [Glazer] call me.’ Joel called him. First thing [Joel] said was, ‘Lovie, I’d like to get together with you tomorrow.’ Lovie told him that [he] understood what it’s about. [Joel] said, ‘Well, let’s just don’t talk about that, let’s get together and talk about it [in person],’ and Lovie gracefully declined the meeting. [He was] very polite, the only the way Lovie can do it, and said, ‘I would just rather do it this way.’ So this was after several attempts for ownership, Joel in particular, to fly here and meet with him, but Lovie then came last night and cleaned out his office.”
When asked why ownership wasn’t in town as the organization changes it team’s leadership once again, Licht said the Glazers are showing trust in their front office personnel.
“They’ve empowered me, right now, to be the face of the football operations, to run the football operations, to lead the charge for the next head coach,” Licht said. “They have confidence in me and my group, my personnel people. So I should be the one talking about this right now.”