Bruce Arians retires from coaching, will move to Buccaneers front office even when Tom Brady returns

The final chapter of what has been the craziest offseason in NFL history is taking place in Tampa Bay. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is retiring from coaching and will take on a front-office role as a senior football consultant to the organization, the team announced. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was named head coach.

Although this is the latest clash to scroll the NFL ticker, Arians told NBC Sports and the Los Angeles Times that he started thinking about doing this move at the NFL Scouting Combine a month ago. He also thought about retirement following the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl LVI victory in February 2021. Of course, the Arians opted instead to try to repeat last season, and the Buccaneers were eliminated in the Divisional Round.

“I have spent most of the last 50 years of my life on the sidelines as a football manager in one form or another,” Arians said in his team statement. “Today I made the decision to move from the sidelines to another role within the Buccaneers front office, assisting Jason Licht and his team. I love football. I love relationships, strategy , competition – everything. It’s been a hell of a ride, but I know it’s the right time for me to make this transition.”

Naturally, the timing of this retirement from coaching will lead many to speculate that it might have something to do with Tom Brady’s decision to come out of retirement himself. There had been rumors that the couple’s relationship soured during Brady’s tenure at Tampa Bay, but Arians noted the two had a “great relationship off the court.” In fact, Brady’s decision not to retire ultimately paved the way for this decision as the Arians knew the team would be competitive when he left.

“Tom was kind of the key,” Arians told NBC Sports and the Los Angeles Time. “When Tom decided to come back and all these guys are back now, it’s the perfect time for me to go to the front office and still have the relationships that I love.”

Oh, and if you were wondering if the Arians could pull a Tom Brady himself and try to come out of retirement at some point, he actually slammed the door saying, “That’s it. I’m going to be 70 in October . I just can’t wait to help the Bucs because they’ve been great with me and my family.”

Meanwhile, Bowles was the recommended successor to Arians and is happy to be able to put back a stable roster as he moves up to head coach.

“Succession has always been huge for me,” Arians said. “With the organization probably in the best shape ever, with the return of Tom Brady I’d rather see Todd in a position to succeed and not have to take it [crappy] work. I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now. I don’t control it next February because [if] Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7, and it’s an open interview for work I’m 31 [coaches and their] families who depend on me. My wife doesn’t want to let all these families down.”

Bowles has been with the Buccaneers organization since 2019 when he was hired as the club’s defensive coordinator. Previously, he was the head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018. The 58-year-old’s hiring is expected to be the fourth full-time minority coach hired by the Glazers, which is the most significant of NFL history.

As for Arians, the 69-year-old originally entered the NFL as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989. He then made notable stops in Indianapolis where he worked as a first quarterbacks coach to Peyton Manning, was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers during Ben Roethlisberger’s early days, and most recently coached Tom Brady en route to the quarterback’s record seventh Super Bowl title .

He finished his coaching career with an 80-48-1 record in the regular season and a 6-3 record in the playoffs.

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