Bruce Arians says he’s happy to reward Todd Bowles with Tampa Bay Buccaneers HC job, has ‘great relationship’ with Tom Brady

Bruce Arians said Thursday that it was always his dream to hand a head-coaching job to a member of his staff and that reports of friction between himself and Tom Brady “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Arians, who will be moving into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ front office this season while defensive coordinator Todd Bowles takes over as head coach, also said his family played a big part in his decision and there was “no better time than right now” to make the move.

“A number of people have already asked, ‘Why are you stepping away from a chance to go to the Hall of Fame and win another Super Bowl?’ Because I don’t give a s— about the Hall of Fame,” Arians, 69, said during Thursday’s news conference. “Succession is way important to me. This has been my dream for a long time. Guys that know me, they knew I wanted one of my guys to take over.”

He said that he first started thinking about leaving his post the Buccaneers head coach after the season but it wasn’t the right time. He said once Brady announced that he was ending his brief retirement to return to the Bucs, the decision was easy and there was “no better time to pass the torch than now.”

Brady attended Thursday’s news conference and was seated in the front row. Arians said he has a “great relationship” with the team’s star quarterback.

“All the players — there are a few in here — everyone of them has gotten cussed out. Including him,” Arians said, pointing to Brady. “That’s just part of me. That’s nothing new. We have a great relationship. … People got to write s—. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Arians went 31-18 (.633) in three campaigns with Tampa Bay, the highest win percentage of any coach in Buccaneers history, and led the team to victory in Super Bowl LV following the 2020 season. He won five playoff games with the Bucs; the previous Tampa Bay coaches won six combined. The Buccaneers announced Thursday that Arians will be added to the team’s Ring of Honor this season.

This will be Bowles’ second head-coaching job, and Arians called Bowles’ second chance “long overdue.” Bowles, 58, was previously the head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018, when he went 24-40. He was also interim coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2011.

“Usually, when people get fired, they blame everyone else. The first thing I did was look within myself,” Bowles said when asked about what he learned from his time as Jets coach. “There are a lot of things I can do better.”

Bowles said he was looking forward to having Brady as his quarterback, a luxury he didn’t have with the Jets when he had to face him twice a season while Brady was with the New England Patriots.

“I think the world of the guy. I think we’re more like you can ever know,” he said.

As for succeeding Arians, Bowles said, “I’m just going to be me. I cannot be him,” but said he plans to take Arians’ advice as well as the advice from the other coaches on his staff.

He added, “When I first started in New York, you try to do things the right way and you don’t do it your way, you end up having regret. So I’m going to do it my way.”

Bowles said Thursday that Larry Foote and Kacy Rodgers will be the Bucs’ co-defensive coordinators this season. Bowles, however, will continue to call the defensive plays this season.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.

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