Longtime member of Bears' staff joins Lovie Smith in Tampa

Longtime member of Bears' staff joins Lovie Smith in Tampa
February 9, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Scott Krinch

When Lovie Smith was announced as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers there was immediate speculation on which Bears would join him in Florida.

On Friday, one of the longest tenured members of the Bears organization was hired to Smith's staff. Bobby Slater, who spent the last 15 seasons in Chicago, was hired to be the Buccaneers' new head athletic trainer.

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“I was fortunate to spend a few years here in Tampa with Todd during my first stint with the Buccaneers and I know he is a true professional and a very well-respected member of the league’s medical community. I wish him all the best in his new role with the Titans,” Smith said in a statement from the Buccaneers. “I also believe we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to bring Bobby here to work with our players. I have a deep respect for the work Bobby did during my time with him at the Bears. I witnessed first-hand his expertise and attention to detail in working with the players and I know he will provide our Buccaneers players with great medical care.”

Slater joined the Bears in 1999 as an assistant athletic trainer. He spent 10 years as the team's director of rehabilitation before being promoted to assistant head athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation for the 2013 season. Slater spent nine seasons (2004-2012) under Smith in Chicago.

He takes over Todd Toriscelli who left the Bucs to join the Tennessee Titans after 17 years with the team.