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Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians retiring, to be replaced by Todd Bowles

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As it turns out, Tom Brady isn't the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leader hanging it up this offseason.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is retiring from coaching and moving to the team's front office as a senior football consulutant, the team announced Wednesday. He will be replaced by Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 01: Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Bruce Arians is retiring after nine years as a head coach. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arians reportedly informed his staff and players of his decision Wednesday evening.

Arians is retiring after eight seasons as an head coach, nine if you count the 12 games he coached as the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. There have been whispers of his potential retirement for years, but few saw it playing out like this.

Per Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, teams would typically need to interview at least two minority candidates for a head-coaching vacancy, but because of the timing of the move after the start of the league year, the hire is allowed.

Todd Bowles' second act as NFL head coach

This will be Bowles' second stint as an NFL head coach, having previously coached the New York Jets for four seasons. He amassed a 24-40 record in that span and never made the playoffs despite a 10-6 record his first year.

Since the Jets fired him, Bowles has seen his stock jump back up thanks to his results in Tampa Bay, which included a Super Bowl ring in his second year. The Buccaneers' defense has ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in points allowed in each of the past two seasons, up from 29th when Bowles first took over and 31st in the year before he came aboard.

Instead of, well, the Jets, Bowles, who is reportedly getting a five-year contract, will now take over as the head coach of a roster of a Super Bowl contender. Arians claims that was part of the reason he retired.

Bruce Arians: Tom Brady's unretirement played role in decision

According to Arians, Tom Brady's stunning decision to retire played a role in his decision to hang up his whistle. Specifically, he wanted Bowles to have the best roster possible and Brady allowed that to happen.

From the Times:

Arians said a pivotal moment in his decision came two weeks ago when future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady decided to unretire and rejoin the team. Arians said that gave him the peace of mind he needed to pass along the job to his longtime friend and colleague.

“[I don’t need to] win another 15 games for me to be happy,” Arians said. “I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some [bad] job. I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So I control the narrative right now. I don’t control it in February because [if] Brady gets hurt and we go 10-7, it’s an open interview for the job.”

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Brady was told Arians planned to step down either the day the quarterback announced his return or the day after. The team reportedly insists the decision for Arians to unretire had nothing to do with Brady, but past speculation of a rift between Arians and Brady is going to leave only more questions.

Tom Brady reacts to Bruce Arians' retirement

No drama was apparent when Brady first reacted to the news publicly, as he strongly praised Arians in an Instagram post.

Arians' response in the comments: "Thanks brotha."