Bruce Arians

Tom Brady’s Non-Answer About Return

Tom Brady‘s 2021 season is over. Following a thrilling loss to the Rams in which the Buccaneers just fell short of their comeback bid, Brady was asked about how he will contemplate whether to come back or not. Brady’s thoughts were clearly still centered on the loss he had endured moments before. 

“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. So, we’ll just take it day by day and see where we’re at,” Brady replied. He continued, “Truthfully, guys, I’m thinking about this game and not thinking about anything past 5 minutes from now.”

Our staff writer, Rory Parks, expanded quite a bit on Brady’s non-committal attitude going into the Divisional Round game, and it appears his attitude has not changed quite yet.

As a result of the one-year extension Brady signed last March, he is under club control through 2022, and he affirmed several months after he put pen to paper that he would honor his commitment. Indeed, he has long said that he wants to play until he is 45, and 2022 would be his age-45 season.

In brighter news for the Buccaneers, head coach Bruce Arians has already spread the news that he is not retiring. Through three years in Tampa Bay, Arians has already added a Lombardi Trophy to the case. The 69-year old plans to coach until he can’t anymore. He also told reporters (before today’s loss) that he would be “shocked” if Brady called it quits after this season. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see just how well Arians knows his veteran quarterback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians Won’t Retire

The Buccaneers are done, but head coach Bruce Arians isn’t. Moments after the Bucs’ heartbreaking loss to the Rams, the Bucs head coach confirmed that he’ll be back this fall (Twitter link via Sara Walsh of FOX Sports). That jibes with what Arians has been saying for years now, including his latest comments just last week. 

[RELATED: Brady On Future, Possibility Of Retirement]

I’m coaching till I can’t,” said Arians, who will celebrate his 70th birthday in October (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

However, it remains to be seen whether Arians will have Tom Brady under center next season. For what it’s worth, Arians told reporters on Friday (before today’s loss) that he would be “shocked” if Brady calls it quits.

The way he was at practice, I would be shocked if he didn’t (play next year),” Arians said (via the Tampa Bay Times). “You know they have that Friday quarterback challenge, and he came flying out of the locker room, sprinting two or three fields away and couldn’t wait to get into the challenge. He was like a little kid. I would be shocked.”

Meanwhile, Arians may need to make some new hires to his coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich are both up for head coaching jobs and they could be poached as soon as this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest on Antonio Brown, 1/5/22

It’s only been three days since Buccaneers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown walked off the field mid-game to much animosity, but the numerous updates have been nearly as dramatic as his exit. 

By now, I certainly don’t need to recap the origin of this conversation, but, in case you’ve been living under a rock, you can read about how Brown left the field mid-game due to a disagreement over playing with a lingering ankle injury and how head coach Bruce Arians made his stance clear that he wanted Brown off the team, but, up to this point in time, Tampa Bay has not released him in order to keep him from joining an opposing team.

In case this soap opera was not entertaining enough, the NFL washed their hands of the matter today, according to a tweet from Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud, claiming that Brown is not subject to the league’s personal conduct policy.

In the same day, Brown appeared on the team’s injury report with the designation “Not Injury Related – Personal,” while Arians said Brown’s roster status is a management decision, making it clear that Brown is not part of the team going forward.

If this is too much drama for you, I’ve got bad news. Later in the day, Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, posted a Twitter thread wherein he, on behalf of his client, accused Tampa Bay of the fairly serious acts of ordering his client to play with a known and documented injury and then attempting to cover up their malfeasances by asking Brown to take the blame off of them and to put it on mental illness. He calls out the team for disowning his client while still retaining his client’s rights and promises a future statement from Brown, which came about an hour later.

Adam Schefter, of ESPN, tweeted out the typed-up statement that details the entire confrontation, as well as its precursors and after-effects, from Brown’s point-of-view. Brown pulls no punches in the statement, doubling down on his lawyer’s accusations and painting a portrait of a domineering organization that has no regard for his physical or mental health.

There’s sure to be a rebuttal from Tampa Bay, but, usually in media, the loudest voice is the most recent. And just like he says his “business” will be next season when he’s healthy, right now, Brown’s voice is “BOOMIN!”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Clears COVID-19 Protocols

Bruce Arians will be on the sidelines for the Buccaneers on Sunday in New Jersey. The defending Super Bowl champions’ head coach cleared COVID-19 protocols Saturday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com notes.

A three-time cancer survivor, Arians contracted COVID-19 earlier this week. Arians, 69, is fully vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, Laine adds. Assistant head coach Harold Goodwin served as the Bucs’ acting HC this week. Wide receivers coach Kevin Garver cleared virus protocols as well Saturday.

The Bucs saw a few other starters test positive this week, but the NFL changing its protocols once again has made it easier for players to return after submitting positive tests. Mike Evans, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean are back on Tampa Bay’s active roster. Evans is questionable for Week 17 due to a hamstring injury. Both Dean and Murphy-Bunting traveled separately to New Jersey due to their late activations.

While the Bucs will at least have their head coach and key corners back, they will be without top pass rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul due to injury. Tampa Bay also has Leonard Fournette and Lavonte David on IR. Antonio Brown is questionable to face the Jets after aggravating an ankle injury in practice. Brown has not practiced since tweaking his ankle Wednesday.

Latest On Bucs’ Antonio Brown

The Buccaneers are getting closer to the point where they will need to make a decision regarding wide receiver Antonio Brown. According to head coach Bruce Arians, however, it’s all still up in the air. 

As reported by ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Arians said, “I haven’t made that determination yet, but we’ll see how it goes” when asked about the seven-time Pro Bowler. Brown’s three-game suspension for producing a fake COVID-19 vaccination card will end after this week, but it remains to be seen if the Buccaneers will allow him to carry on with the team.

The ban — also given to safety Mike Edwards — is the latest in off-field issues surrounding Brown. His latest suspension was for eight games in 2020 for violating the league’ personal conduct policy. Laine adds that Arians informed Brown “there will be no second chances” when he joined the team last season.

In his absence, Tampa Bay has had no issues scoring, as they lead the league with 31.5 points per game. Still, the NFC South leaders would welcome back Brown’s production: 42 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns in just five games.

The Bucs host the Saints on Sunday night in Week 15.

Latest On Buccaneers’ WR Antonio Brown

Questions have arisen over Antonio Brown‘s future with the Buccaneers after comments made by head coach Bruce Arians. Brown and safety Mike Edwards recently received a three-game ban following a report indicating that Brown had acquired a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that when asked if Brown and Edwards will remain on the team after their suspension is over, Arians answered, We’ll address their future at that time,” fueling speculation that there may be reason to doubt their current job safety. When asked to clarify his comments, Arians doubled down, stating, “Nothing’s been decided, no.”

The four-time First-team All-Pro has had his share of controversies over an eleven-year career in the NFL. When Brown was signed to a free agent deal with the Buccaneers, Arians commented that, despite entering the NFL midway through the 2020 season, he didn’t anticipate any issues with Brown having to deal with the COVID-19 protocols. Arians also indicated that Tampa Bay wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of Brown were he to return to his controversial behavior, saying, “He’s been a model citizen, if and when he’s not, we’ll move on.”

The star wide receiver has been impressive this year in the five games he’s played, totaling 42 catches for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brown’s decision to accept his suspension without an appeal was an easy one, as he was expected to miss two more games anyway with an ankle injury, and he was lucky for a shorter suspension, considering the league was looking into a suspension around 6-8 games.

It will be interesting to see how Arians and the Buccaneers proceed with handling Brown and Edwards. Arians was one of the more vocal and proud coaches in his team’s efforts to get to 100% vaccination status. Both Brown and Edwards have since been vaccinated, but the damage may already be done.

Bucs Extend GM Jason Licht, HC Bruce Arians

The Super Bowl architects are staying put. The Buccaneers have agreed to extend the contract of GM Jason Licht (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Meanwhile, they’ve also revised Bruce Arians‘ contract to give the head coach a pay bump. 

Licht took over as the Buccaneers’ GM in 2014. The club went 27-53 in his first five years at the helm, but that didn’t stop the club from inking him to a five-year re-up just before the 2019 season. Today, they’re happy they stuck with him. Licht spearheaded the recruitment of Tom Brady, replacing the interception-prone Jameis Winston with a future Hall of Famer. And, together with Brady, Licht brought in a slew of stars, including Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. For the reigning champs, the decision to extend Licht was a no-brainer.

Arians still has several years to go on the original deal he inked in 2019. And, all along, he’s said that he’ll honor the contract and coach until he’s truly had his fill.

Oh yeah, that’s the plan. I don’t have any plans on retiring,” Arians said of finishing out his contract during an appearance on the Pewter Report Podcast. “It’s just, when do I not want to go back to work? When I’m not excited about going back to work then I’m cheating somebody. I’m cheating the Glazer family, I’m cheating my players. Right now I can’t wait to get back to work.”

Arians is the third-oldest head coach in the NFL, after only Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. A three-time cancer survivor, Arians has already cemented one of the best comeback stories in NFL coaching history.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Plans To Honor 5-Year Deal

Three months after the Buccaneers’ second Super Bowl parade, Bruce Arians is not backing off the pledge he made at that time. The third-year Bucs HC not only wants to pilot a Bucs title defense but coach the team beyond 2021.

In 2019, Arians said he would retire if the Bucs won a Super Bowl. Now, the 68-year-old leader wants to finish out the five-year contract the Bucs gave him and could potentially coach beyond 2023.

Oh yeah, that’s the plan. I don’t have any plans on retiring,” Arians said of finishing out his contract during an appearance on the Pewter Report Podcast. “It’s just, when do I not want to go back to work? When I’m not excited about going back to work then I’m cheating somebody. I’m cheating the Glazer family, I’m cheating my players. Right now I can’t wait to get back to work.”

[RELATED: Bucs GM: Tom Brady Can Play Until He’s 50]

Tampa Bay deviated from its usual approach to contract structures this offseason, doing so in order to keep its Super Bowl squad together. The maneuvering involved a Tom Brady extension, which is packed with void years that stand to affect future Bucs payrolls. The Bucs are firmly in win-now mode, but Arians also dispelled the notion he would walk away when Brady does. Brady is signed through 2022.

I don’t know when that’s going to happen,” Arians said of his own retirement, “but no, I’m not tied to any players. … I could get extremely excited about having another young quarterback and going to war with one,” Arians said. “I’ll be honest with you. I’d be excited to take Blaine Gabbert to war because I love Blaine Gabbert. I think he is the most underrated player in the NFL. So yeah, when its not fun, then it will be time.”

Arians is the third-oldest head coach in the NFL, after Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, but he did retire after the 2017 season. A three-time cancer survivor, Arians spent 2018 in the broadcast booth. But he has made his comeback one of the best in NFL coaching history, ending a lengthy Bucs playoff drought and giving the franchise its second championship, and wants to continue this chapter beyond 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Returning To Buccaneers In 2021, Confident Team Can Keep FAs

It really sounds like the Buccaneers will be getting the full band back together in 2021. Rob Gronkowski has already said he isn’t retiring, and he’s previously indicated he only wants to play in Tampa. Tom Brady is expected back for at least one more ride, and quite possibly more.

And now we’ve got confirmation that the coach isn’t planning on riding off into the sunset either. “I ain’t going anywhere. I’m trying to get two, and then we’ll see,Bruce Arians said after the Bucs’ Super Bowl win, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). There had been some speculation that the 68-year-old Arians could be headed for retirement, but one championship clearly wasn’t enough to satisfy him.

Arians’ priority will now turn toward keeping all his guys, and he seems to think he’s got a good shot. “I’m very, very confident,” the team will keep its core, Arians said in a Monday press conference, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. “I have all the trust in the world in (GM) Jason (Licht) and what he would do.”

These guys, they have a bond. There will be dollars involved. But I think that this group is so, so close that sometimes dollars don’t matter. But we’re going to do everything we can to get the dollars right too because they earned it.” Arians’ sentiment about the money not being a deal-breaker was echoed by Mike Evans, who has apparently said he’d be willing to knock off some of his $12.5MM salary for next year to help keep other players.

Stud pass-rusher Shaq Barrett and long-time linebacker Lavonte David are both set to be free agents, as is star receiver Chris Godwin. There will be a lot of guys looking to cash in, and despite Arians’ optimism it’s a simple fact of the NFL that it’ll be hard to retain *everybody*.

Arians retired as Cardinals coach after the 2017 campaign, but his time away from the game ended up only lasting one season. Having Tom Brady and making a deep playoff run appears to have rejuvenated him, and he could very well coach into his 70s at this point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians Has Succession Plan For Todd Bowles

Will Bruce Arians retire after the Super Bowl? “Hell no,” the coach says. But, someday, the Buccaneers head coach plans to hand things off to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com

I think [our defense has improved by] lightyears,” Arians said of Bowles recently. “Just the mixture of all those guys in the secondary [and] solidifying the front. Again, going into last season, we had to get Shaq Barrett back [and] we had to get Ndamukong Suh back. Keeping everybody there [and] now getting Vita Vea back. And, that secondary was key. Getting guys that could play man-to-man, that were aggressive bump-and-run type people that could also play zone, rather than soft zone players. It took a while, but I think Todd has just done a tremendous job and we’ve been winning with defense.”

Bowles’ defensive prowess is undeniable — his units were stellar in Arizona and even his Jets defenses were decent. However, his win/loss record in New York was rough. In four years, he had only 24 wins in total, despite a 10-win campaign in 2015.

Meanwhile, speculation persists about Arians’ plans, despite his denials. The 68-year-old has retired twice before. His most recent “retirement” came in 2017, after leaving the Cardinals. Previous to that, Arians also claimed to be walking away in 2011, when he peace’d out on the Steelers. Today, win or lose, Arians says he’s coming back for at least one more season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.