The Hong Kong Telegraph - Buccaneers coach Arians steps down in surprise move

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Buccaneers coach Arians steps down in surprise move
Buccaneers coach Arians steps down in surprise move

Buccaneers coach Arians steps down in surprise move

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is retiring and handing over the job to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the NFL team said Wednesday.

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The shock announcement came just weeks after superstar quarterback Tom Brady reversed his own retirement decision and said he would return to the Bucs next season.

Arians, 69, told his coaching staff and players the news on Wednesday, and the team confirmed that Bowles would be promoted to head coach.

Arians, who guided Brady and the Bucs to the Super Bowl in the 2020 season, will take on a new role as a senior football consultant to the team.

He said in a statement released through the team that Brady's decision to return was one of the factors that helped him decide to make a move he had already been contemplating.

"I have spent most of the last 50 years of my life on the sidelines as a football coach in one form or another," Arians said. "Today, I have made the decision to move from the sidelines into another role with the Buccaneers front office, assisting Jason Licht and his staff.

"I really began thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this offseason. I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed. So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn't want that for Todd.

"Tom's decision to come back, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd."

It's another twist in an already unlikely off-season for the Bucs, who thought they had said goodbye to Brady when the seven-time Super Bowl winner announced his retirement in February.

But Brady, who won six titles in 20 seasons with New England before moving to the Bucs in 2020 and leading them to a title, changed his mind, saying the team had "unfinished business" after losing to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs in January.

On Wednesday, Brady thanked Arians in an Instagram post and wished him well in retirement.

"You are an incredible man and coach and it was a privilege to play for you," Brady wrote. "You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive.

"Smart, tough, and loyal are a few of the words to describe your style. I will always remember the conversations we had when you recruited me two years ago and all of the things we discussed came true."

- Bowles eager to start -

Bowles issued a statement thanking Arians for his support and guidance, and said he looked forward to taking on his new role.

"As an organization, we have all the pieces in place to continue the winning standard that has been established here in recent years," Bowles said. "I am eager to get started with our players, coaching staff, and front office in preparation for the 2022 season."

Bowles was Arians' defensive coordinator in both Arizona and Tampa Bay and had a stint as head coach of the New York Jets.

Bowles, who is Black, will bring the NFL's total of minority head coaches to six.

He compiled a 24-40 record as Jets head coach from 2015-18. As the Bucs' defensive coordinator he guided the defensive unit that stymied Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Tampa Bay's 31-9 rout of the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.

Arians said that Super Bowl victory, in the Bucs' home stadium with his mother and family in attendance "was really the last item I wanted to check off my career bucket list."

A cancer survivor, Arians said the decision had nothing to do with his health.

"Before you start thinking this is about my health, don't," he said. "This is the best I have felt in many years and I'm looking forward to helping this team continue winning through my new role."