Bruce Arians Reveals Reason for Absences from Bucs Games

Bruce Arians

Getty Bruce Arians revealed he spent time in the hospital last month due to chest pains.

After former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians took heat for his sideline presence during a Week 2 brawl, he more or less disappeared from game days.

Unfortunately, it came about because of serious health issues instead of a punitive move by the NFL. Arians, the senior advisor to Bucs general manager Jason Licht, missed three games in October due to hospitalization over severe chest pains. Arians, 70, shared his story with various media outlets.

“On the night before the Atlanta game, we had a house full of people,” Arians told Ira Kaufman of “We ate and I got these pains way up here, like two knives going in. The more I tried to take a breath, the worse it got.”

“I took some TUMS, thinking it was indigestion, but it just got worse. I called [wife] Christine back to the bedroom and said I can’t shake this pain. We called 911 and they put me on a stretcher to Tampa General,” Arians added, per Kaufman.

Doctors diagnosed Arians with pericarditis, Arians told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Pericarditis involves “swelling and irritation of the thin, saclike tissue surrounding the heart known as the pericardium”, Stroud wrote. The condition can “mimic a heart attack” but doesn’t require treatment, Stroud added.

Arians said he stayed four days at Tampa General Hospital, per Kaufman, and the former coach missed the next three Bucs games afterward.

“Thankfully, the scans showed no fluid, no heart damage and absolutely no blockages,” Arians told Kaufman. “They had a cardiac radiologist look at  everything and they ended up giving me anti-inflammatories.”

Arians Returns to Bucs

Arians attended the last two Bucs home games in Tampa — the Week 8 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and Week 9 comeback win over the Los Angeles Rams. Arians didn’t attend the game against the Seattle Seahawks in Germany.

Health issues also didn’t stop Arians from staying in touch with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, according to Kaufman. Arians also attended Bucs practices in recent weeks, per Stroud.

“I’m great,” Arians told Stroud about how he’s feeling now.

It’s not the first of Arians’ health scares in his NFL days, Stroud noted. Arians had chest pains in 2016 when he coached the Arizona Cardinals. He also “battled prostate, skin, and kidney cancer” during his time there, which led to his retirement after the 2017 season, Stroud wrote.

Arians’ Second Retirement Not About Health Issues

Arians returned to coaching in 2019 with the Bucs, and he won a Super Bowl in the 2020 season. He retired in March 2022, but he said health didn’t drive the decision, Stroud reported in March.

“Tom [Brady] was the deciding factor,” Arians told The Athletic’s Dan Pompei. “With him back, now I could step away. Todd [Bowles] gets five years. Now, boys, it’s on you. I gave you everything I could give you. We have great owners, and we all kind of met in the middle.”

“The Bucs were so good to me and I wanted them to be set up for the future and I wanted those coaches taken care of. I couldn’t do that when I left Arizona, and some of the assistants couldn’t get jobs for a year,” Arians added, per Pompei. “I didn’t want that to happen again. That was more important to me than winning this year and possibly going into the Hall of Fame. If I can’t get into the Hall of Fame with what I’ve done, I’m good.”

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