Lovie Smith recalls close encounter with monkeys in Costa Rica

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith and his family experienced a close encounter with monkeys, cutting short their trip to Costa Rica by 41 days.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced Lovie Smith as their new coach Monday.

Turns out, Smith had a close call with monkeys during his time off.

The Chicago Bears fired Smith after the 2012 season, and he spent most of the past year away from the sideline, re-evaluating his coaching approach. He also found time to take a trip to Costa Rica, where a planned 50-day stay with his wife, MaryAnne, was cut well short after an encounter involving two large male monkeys.

Here’s how Smith explained the incident:

Back in Tampa

"The first couple days we’re there, we had a couple of the small white-faced monkeys. About day six we heard the howling monkeys. Day eight, they come in where the back door is open … and a few days before my son (Mikal) said, ‘Dad, a monkey is four times stronger than a man, so be careful.’

"So about that time, I kept a machete in the back just in case, because (I’m) back in the rain forest with my wife. So about day nine, I look up and there are two big male monkeys standing up on the table with their teeth showing. And I said, ‘OK, this is not going to end well.’ Anyway, I got a broom. I really didn’t have to kill any of the monkeys. We pushed them out of the house, packed up that day and got out.

"Have you every heard a howling monkey?" Smith continued. "They’re kind of terrifying sound, so I didn’t have to kill any. But we left on Day Nine of a 50-day stay. After that, MaryAnne said, ‘Let’s go somewhere else. You still have time.’ I said, ‘We’re going to Tampa.’ So we were down here on the beach in Tampa. … So that’s my story. As it turned out, I thought it was going to end a lot different than it did, to say the least. But we got out of it alive."

Good thing at that. Still, he left with a unique story.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.