Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says he's grateful ownership retained him

TAMPA, Fla. -- After his Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched a last-second 31-24 win over the New Orleans Saints, head coach Dirk Koetter admitted that ownership's decision to bring him back after a 5-11 season wasn't an easy thing to do.

"It took a lot of courage for the Glazer family to bring me back [and] bring the staff back with the record what it is, but I really appreciate that," Koetter said. "We will start the evaluation process tomorrow. We will send these guys off on their vacation and we will start working on 2018."

Koetter was informed Friday that he would be retained for 2018. It came after a month of difficult questions about everything from his relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston to if he feared he'd lost his locker room.

After multiple players voiced their approval of the move Sunday night, Koetter said, "It makes me feel pretty good."

Winston was one of those players.

"I was sitting on my couch and I saw the scroll across [the screen]. Thank God for DVR, DirecTV because I rewound that thing back like, 'Yes!'" Winston said. "I tried to call him like three times and I asked him, 'Is your phone broken? Did you change your number on me now that you're back?' [laughs] Man, I'm happy. I'm happy, he truly deserves that. You could just see this locker room and how we kept fighting for him."

He added, "After the Carolina game [last week], Coach [Koetter] said, 'If you guys play like that next year, no matter who is here, you're going to do good.' I broke it down and said, 'Man, I'm tired of our coach giving us subliminal messages. Like, this is our coach. Let's go out there and get a win for him.' And we got it, right? That's all that matters."

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who's played for three head coaches in Tampa already said, "It's excellent. The whole getting a new head coach and all those different things, I have been through it too many times and I wasn't looking forward to doing it again. So, I am glad the Glazers decided to keep him around. I am happy. I love Coach and I'm excited for the future."