The relationship between Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and former head coach Bruce Arians has been a hot topic for much of the NFL offseason.
The two won a Super Bowl together in Brady’s first year in Tampa Bay before losing to the LA Rams in the 2021 NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Brady announced his retirement from the game of football not long after the end of the 2021 season, before doing an about-face and returning to the Bucs for his 23rd season in the league. Shortly after Brady announced his return, Arians stepped away as head coach – naming defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as head coach – and taking a position in the front office.
There have been rumors that the relationship had grown strained – a rumor that both Brady and Arians have denied – and now Arians is saying that Brady’s return to Tampa Bay did have an impact on his decision to step away. Just not in the way some want to think.
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“I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play,” Arians said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody to draft. That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine (Gabbert) and Kyle (Trask). Because I’ve seen Blaine win with a good team behind him. Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.”
Arians told The Times that he had been thinking about retirement from coaching for some time, saying that the 2022 season more than likely would be his last regardless of the results.
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“It was 90 percent that (this) year would be my last, anyway,” said Arians, who will turn 70 in October. “Seventy (years old) was going to be it.”
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After Brady retired, Arians planned on returning as he did not want to hand Bowles a situation without a franchise quarterback for his second stint as an NFL head coach.
When Brady decided to return, Arians told The Times that it was time for a change, a change for him and for Bowles.
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“Both. It was time for the whole situation to change,” Arians said. “The narrative had to change. I was very upset with the hiring cycle.”
Arians called Brady while the seven-time Super Bowl champion was on vacation in Italy to inform him of the move. A move which Brady was completely on board with.
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“There was nothing that came between me and (Brady),” Arians said. “It was just what I want to do. I asked if he was okay with the plan and he said, ‘Hell yeah!’”