TAMPA, Fla. — Bruce Arians is retiring after three seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ head coach and move into a front office role with the organization, the team announced Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will replace Arians as head coach. A league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Bucs finalized a new five-year head coaching deal with Bowles early Wednesday.
Arians told ESPN that he doesn’t see the trade as a retirement.
“No, I’m moving to the main office,” he said in a text message. “I still working.”
Arians played a key role in assessing draft prospects, and a move to the front office ensures that he continues. His new position will be senior football consultant.
Despite multiple health problems throughout his career, Arians, 69, said this move was in no way motivated by his health. Arians and the Buccaneers had been working on a succession plan for the past several weeks, and Arians briefed players and members of his coaching staff on the news ahead of the team’s announcement.
Arians went 31-18 (.633) in three seasons with Tampa Bay, the highest winning percentage of any coach in Buccaneers history, and led the team to victory in Super Bowl LV after the season. 2020. Won five playoff games with the Bucs; previous Tampa Bay coaches won a combined six.
“I’ve spent most of the last 50 years of my life on the sidelines as a football coach in one form or another. Today, I’ve made the decision to move from the sidelines to another position in the Buccaneers front office, helping [general manager] Jason Licht and his staff,” Arians said in a statement. “I love soccer. I love relationships, strategy, competition, everything. It’s been a great journey, but I know this is the right time to make this transition.”
A source told ESPN that Bowles was informed Monday of Arians’ decision to step aside and promote him. Arians had long thought of Bowles as his successor if Bowles didn’t land a head coaching job elsewhere. Bowles was interviewed for head coaching vacancies at the minnesota vikings and chicago bears this off season.
Bowles, 58, was previously the head coach of the new york jets from 2015 to 2018, when he went 24-40. He also served as interim head coach of the miami dolphins for three games to finish the 2011 season, going 2-1.
Bowles’ presence ensures continuity on a Bucs team that has been virtually unchanged since the Super Bowl victory, with the exception of the departures of assistants Mike Caldwell, Cody Grimm and Antwaan Randle El.
“I am grateful to the family and to Jason Licht for having faith in me to take on this role, and to Coach Arians for his support and guidance over the past four decades,” Bowles said in a statement. “Tampa has become my family’s home and we are excited to continue to be a part of this community for years to come. As an organization, we have all the pieces in place to continue the winning standard that has been set here over the last few years. years. I am looking forward to getting started with our players, coaching staff and front office in preparation for the 2022 season.”
Bowles becomes the sixth minority head coach currently in the NFL, joining the pittsburgh steelmenMike Tomlin, the Washington Commanders‘ Ron Rivera, the Jets’ Robert Saleh, the houston texansLovie Smith and Mike McDaniel from Miami. Bowles is also the fourth black coach in Bucs history, joining Tony Dungy, Raheem Morris and Smith.
The Bucs were not subject to the requirements of the Rooney Rule, as their coaching vacancy occurred after March 1, when much of the talent pool the club would seek potential candidates from is unavailable. In addition, the anti-tampering policy says that after March 1, clubs are not required to give permission for a coach under contract to interview.
Arians’ departure is the second major announcement for the Bucs this offseason, after quarterback Tom BradyThe February announcement that he was ending his degree. Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, returned 40 days later, saying he would be playing a 23rd season and noting that he had “unfinished business.”
A source told ESPN that Arians informed Brady of his decision to step aside shortly after Brady announced his return.
Brady, in an Instagram post On Wednesday night, he said Arians was a big part of his decision to play for Tampa Bay and that he will be “forever grateful.”
“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 a trailblazer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive. Smart, tough and loyal are some of the words that describe your style. I will always remember the conversations we had.” .when you recruited me two years ago and all the things we discussed came true.”
There were rumors of a breakup between Arians and Brady, but Arians denied it this week in an interview with NFL Network at the NFL owners meetings, and denied speculation that Brady wanted to play elsewhere in 2022. Arians walked out of the meetings. of owners one day. early and canceled his previously scheduled media availability for personal reasons.
“I have no idea where it comes from,” Arians said. “Someone has to write a story every day about something. Tom and I have a great relationship. Even in retirement: ‘Where are you?’ I’m in Italy. ‘How’s it going?’ I have the kids here. You know, just keeping tabs on him. I can’t get him back on the golf course because he travels too much, so I can’t make enough money off him.”
Asked about the possible friction between the two, Licht said last week: “You’d be surprised if we didn’t talk about it much. You can’t believe everything you hear, see and read. There will always be some friction between people on a coaching staff. and players and a coach. It’s just normal. And like you said, it can be healthy. We don’t really think about it much.”
Although Arians had previously retired as head coach of the arizona cardinals after the 2017 season before returning to coach the Bucs in 2019, several aides on his staff told ESPN they were shocked and surprised by the news of his transition to a new role.
In his statement, Arians said he “really started thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this offseason.”
“When I left, I wanted to make sure Todd Bowles had the best chance to succeed,” he said. “So many head coaches get into situations where they’re prepared to fail, and I didn’t want that for Todd.
“Tom’s decision to return, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact through free agency, confirmed to me that the time was right to pass the torch to Todd.”
With Arians resigning, 10 NFL teams, nearly a third of the league, will have a new head coach this coming season. That represents the most coaching changes from one season to the next since 2008 and 2009, when there were 11 job changes.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.