Lovie Smith headed to Tampa?


Lovie Smith coached the Bears from 2004 through 2012. (Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

Lovie Smith apparently is on the Washington Redskins’ list of coaching candidates but there is sentiment within the league that he is more likely to be headed elsewhere.

Several people with knowledge of the league-wide hiring process said they remain convinced that Smith will end up as the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“A lot of people think that will happen,” said one person familiar with several teams’ coaching searches.

Smith is the former head coach of the Chicago Bears and once was a Buccaneers assistant coach.

The Redskins interviewed Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Tuesday in Seattle and are scheduled to interview Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott on Saturday in Charlotte.

Under NFL rules, assistant coaches on teams with first-round playoff byes can interview for head coaching vacancies this week. Those interviews must take place in the city in which the assistant works and the assistant’s current team has input into when the interview occurs. Assistants on playoff teams that are playing first-round games this weekend cannot interview for head coaching jobs until next week.

It appears at this point that the Redskins will conduct a wide-ranging search and interview a sizable number of candidates. Some of those who have spoken to team officials say if there is a clear-cut favorite for the job, the Redskins have given no indication of that.

“I don’t think [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder knows at this point which direction he’s going to go with this,” said a person with ties to one prospective Redskins’ candidate.

The Redskins and Buccaneers are competing with the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns for available coaches. The Houston Texans became the first NFL team to fill a coaching vacancy by reaching a deal Tuesday with Penn State Coach Bill O’Brien. The Texans had a head start on their search after firing Gary Kubiak in early December. They interviewed Smith for the job.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

More from The Post:

The Redskins’ coaching search beginsAll coach-related blog posts

McDermott to interview | Bevell interviews | Briles not contacted

D.C. Sports Bog: Zero chance Cowher comes, Sharpe says | Next coach polls

Top candidates to replace Shanahan | Graphic: NFL coaches since ’99

Mailbag: On the front-office and head coach | Early Lead: NFL coach openings

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.

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Keith McMillan · December 31, 2013