Peep Show

Updated: January 7, 2004, 12:16 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | ESPN Insider
Denver Broncos: Director of pro personnel Rick Smith might be in line for a promotion, just not with the Broncos. Smith will interview today for the vacant Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager job, according to the Denver Post. Smith has been a very important figure in Denver, and has been the man primarily responsible for finding waiver-wire gems like DE Bertrand Berry, CB Kelly Herndon and S Nick Ferguson. This will be the first time Smith, 34, will interviewing for such a high position, though the Seattle Seahawks considered contacting him last season to fill their vacancy.

St. Louis Rams: Though they lost home-field advantage with the loss to Detroit in the season finale, the Rams still got the first week of the playoffs off. And those seven extra days helped rejuvenate two important members of the team. WR Isaac Bruce and MLB Robert Thomas returned to practice Tuesday, and for the first time in a while the whole roster was able to participate. Bruce missed most of the last three games with a high ankle sprain and Thomas was absent for the final three games of the regular season with a torn groin muscle. "Isaac's fine," coach Mike Martz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I guess Monday was his first real full workout, and he didn't skip a beat. He's 100 percent." Thomas may or may not be 100 percent, but he's healthy enough to contribute. "I feel good," he said. "With the last three games off, the injury healed up, and I'm excited to be back on the field, ready to go. That bye week gave me an extra week to heal up and rest."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Defensive coordinator Tim Lewis will be looking for a new job after coach Bill Cowher fired him Tuesday. Despite leading the Steelers to the No. 1 overall defensive ranking in 2001 and to No. 7 and No. 9 rankings over the next two seasons, Lewis couldn't keep his job. But Lewis revealed that his firing wasn't based on performance, but an undisclosed set of circumstances. "It really was not a football thing," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Some players were taken aback by Lewis' sudden dismissal. "I'm surprised. I didn't see it coming," CB Dewayne Washington said. "The defense wasn't worse than last year. We wanted to improve on third downs and in the red zone and we definitely did that. At the end of the day, the players play and the coaches can only do so much." There was also another change on the staff, as Cowher decided not to renew the contract of wide receivers coach Kenny Jackson. But coordinator Mike Mularkey, whose offense went from No. 7 to No. 22 kept his job and Cowher's faith.