Bruce Arians was emotional when he announced after the 2017 season that he was retiring from coaching. He said he would miss the game.
It must be hard to step away from professional football, and Arians apparently found out that he wasn’t ready to quit it yet. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced late Tuesday that they have hired Arians as head coach. NFL Network reports that the deal is for four years with a fifth-year option.
He is reportedly bringing on former New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator and former NFL quarterback and Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to run his offense.
The Buccaneers sent a sixth-round draft pick to the Cardinals in return for Arians’ rights and a seventh-round pick after Arizona argued with the NFL that they still retained rights to their former coach, according to ESPN.
As recently as last month, Arians said the only team he would come out of retirement to coach was the Cleveland Browns. Again, the draw of coaching must be strong, especially for someone like Arians that has been at the peak of his profession.
Arians is a two-time NFL coach of the year, and the fit between him and the Buccaneers is fascinating.
Bruce Arians returns after a year off
Arians wasn’t far away from football in his year away from coaching. He broadcast games for CBS, where his personality fit very well.
Arians was one of the most honest and entertaining coaches in the NFL when he was with the Cardinals, and his reactions to Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston might be priceless. Winston’s inconsistency, including some remarkably bad turnovers, has kept him from breaking out as the team’s franchise quarterback. Winston faces a make-or-break 2019 season, on the final year of his rookie deal, and Arians is the latest hope to get the most out of him.
Arians has done well with quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer before. Whether he can get the most out of Winston will define how his time in Tampa Bay goes.
Buccaneers haven’t won in a while
The Buccaneers were lucky to land Arians. The group of candidates this year isn’t strong, and Arians is as good as any. Tampa Bay hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2007 season, when Jon Gruden was still its coach. The Buccaneers haven’t won a playoff game since Jan. 26, 2003, when they won Super Bowl XXXVII.
Because of the Buccaneers’ sad history and the unease with Winston at quarterback, it wasn’t an attractive opening. Though Arians is 66 years old and unlikely to be a long-term answer for the Buccaneers, it’s as good as the team could have done in this cycle, after firing Dirk Koetter.
If nothing else, the Arians-Winston combination should be entertaining.
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