Bruce Arians Admits He’d ‘Probably’ Still Be Bucs HC Had Tom Brady Stayed Retired

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Former Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has doubled down on his reasons for stepping down from his role this offseason, telling the Tampa Bay Times Friday that it was all about giving new head coach Todd Bowles the best situation to succeed.

Amid speculation of a possible rift developing between Arians and quarterback Tom Brady at the end of last season, the narrative wrote itself once Arians retired just weeks after Brady un-retired and returned to Tampa Bay: Brady is the reason why Arians called it quits.

That’s true. Brady did play a part in Arians’ sudden retirement, but for reasons explained above. This was simply done to hand Bowles the keys to a Ferrari — for one perhaps final push for a Super Bowl with Brady in place.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady speaks to the local media on the final day of Buccaneers’ minicamp at the AdventHealth Training Center in 2022. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

“I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play,” Arians said. “I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody to draft. That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine [Gabbert] and Kyle [Trask]. Because I’ve seen Blaine win with a good team behind him. Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.”

He added that the most recent hiring cycle “upset” him, in which nine new head coaches were named — none of them named Bowles or Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who interviewed for multiple vacancies.

Even if Brady didn’t come back, however, 2022 was likely to be it for Arians, who turns 70 in October.

“It was 90 percent that [this] year would be my last, anyway,” Arians said. “70 [years old] was going to be it.”

Arians squashed the rumors of a potential fallout between he and Brady — just as Brady did Thursday, when he spoke to local reporters for the first time since January.


“Zero whatsoever,” Brady said of any heat between he and Arians. “He and I have a great relationship and I think that’s part of why I chose here was because of Bruce. I mean, he and I have been as — incredible communication and I have great respect for him and he knows how I feel about him. That’s the most important thing. And I know how he feels about me.”

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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