(via Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today announced the hire of Jason Licht as the fifth general manager in franchise history. An introductory press conference will be held in the team auditorium at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday, January 23, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
“We are excited to welcome Jason Licht as the new general manager of the Buccaneers. Jason is a seasoned NFL personnel veteran who has worked with some of the most accomplished individuals in professional football while contributing to success in New England, Philadelphia and Arizona. His strong player personnel background provides the ideal complement to Lovie Smith’s philosophy as our head coach. We look forward to working with Jason and Lovie as we set the foundation and chart the course for the future of Buccaneers football,” said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer.
Licht (pronounced LIGHT) brings nearly two decades of scouting and player personnel experience with five organizations to the Buccaneers’ front office. In 18 NFL seasons, including one as a coach, the clubs that Licht has worked for have amassed a 164-124 (.569) record, nine playoff appearances, eight division championships, four conference championships and one Super Bowl title.
In addition, Licht’s career has intersected with some of the NFL’s greatest head coaches, including Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Belichick and Andy Reid. In all, Licht has worked alongside six head coaches who have led a team to a Super Bowl (Shula, Johnson, Belichick, Reid, Pete Carroll, Ken Whisenhunt) and six who have won AP Coach of the Year honors in their career (Shula, Johnson, Belichick, Reid, Dom Capers, Bruce Arians).
Licht most recently served as the Arizona Cardinals’ vice president of player personnel in 2013 after being promoted from director of player personnel. With Arizona, Licht worked directly with the head coach and general manager on player acquisition and contract negotiations, as well as leading the club’s scouting efforts as he oversaw both the college and pro scouting departments.
The 2013 season saw the Cardinals improve to 10-6 from a 5-11 campaign the previous year. Last offseason, the front office acquired an influx of talent that paid immediate dividends, including quarterback Carson Palmer (16 starts, 4,274 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes), running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington (combined for 16 starts, 1,339 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 57 receptions, 505 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown), linebackers John Abraham (13 starts, 11.5 sacks, Pro Bowl) and Karlos Dansby (16 starts, 122 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, All-Pro), and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu (11 starts, 67 tackles, 2 interceptions, All-Rookie).
Licht first worked with the Cardinals as a personnel executive in 2008 when Arizona won the NFC West and advanced to the Super Bowl. He then spent three seasons (2009-11) as director of pro personnel with the New England Patriots, where he was responsible for monitoring every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining depth on New England’s roster. The Patriots were AFC East champions in each of those three seasons and advanced to the Super Bowl following the 2011 campaign.
Licht spent five years with the Philadelphia Eagles (2003-07), first serving as the club’s assistant director of player personnel before being promoted to vice president of player personnel for his final two seasons. The team won three NFC East titles during that span and earned a berth in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Prior to joining Philadelphia, Licht enjoyed his first stint in New England, serving as a scout and assistant director of player personnel from 1999-2002, a stretch that included a victory in Super Bowl XXXVI. He was part of a front office that drafted core pieces of the three-time Super Bowl champions, such as Damien Woody, Kevin Faulk, Tom Brady, Richard Seymour, Matt Light, and Deion Branch.
Licht began his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins in 1995, where he worked as a scouting department assistant before spending the 1996 season as an offensive assistant/quality control coach. In 1997, he worked for National Football Scouting, a college football scouting service, before joining the Carolina Panthers’ scouting staff in 1998.
Licht played linebacker and guard at the University of Nebraska from 1989-91 before transferring to Nebraska-Wesleyan, where he was an all-conference defensive tackle. He and his wife, Blair, have three children.