Bucs Under Fire for Bruce Arians’ Involvement in Brawl With Saints: Report

Bruce Arians

Getty Bruce Arians is under investigation by the NFL for involvement in Sunday's brawl.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians appeared too close to the action amid a brawl with the New Orleans Saints.

Arians, the senior advisor to the general manager, paced the sidelines and interjected with referees and Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore right before the brawl broke out on Sunday, September 18. It also looked like Arians encouraged Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans to get involved in the scuffle with Lattimore and other Bucs players.

Such behavior by Arians has the NFL looking at his involvement in Sunday’s brawl, a source “with knowledge of the situation” told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. The NFL already suspended Evans on Monday for shoving Lattimore to the ground. Florio noted that Arians’ sideline appearance in general is also an issue.

“It’s unclear whether the league can direct the Buccaneers to get Arians off the sideline, but it should,” Florio wrote. “He’s no longer a member of the coaching staff. He should act accordingly.”

Greg Auman of The Athletic confirmed that Arians can be on the sideline with a bench pass. Each team issues them for staff, Auman noted. Bucs general manager Jason Licht and staff members “have generally watched games from the sidelines for the past two seasons”, Auman wrote.

Bucs head coach Todd Bowles also addressed the issue of Arians being on the sideline during the Saints game. Despite the sideline pass allotment, Arians previously sat upstairs in a press box during the opener at Dallas the week before.

“He’s always upstairs. They didn’t have a box to give us this game, so everybody that was upstairs were downstairs,” Bowles told reporters.

Arians told Auman during the preseason that he prefers being upstairs during games.

Arians Stood on the Sideline Unnecessarily, ESPN Reported

ESPN Saints beat writer Katherine Terrell reported that Arians actually did have reserved seating at the game on Sunday. Florio also reported it.

“Arians’ presence on the sideline isn’t improper,” Florio wrote. “What he did while he was there may have been. He put himself in the middle of the action. He was chirping to at least one official. He was close to the action that transpired between receiver Mike Evans and multiple Saints players.”

“Again, as long as he isn’t trying to tell Bowles what to do, the Bucs can benefit from having an agitator on the sidelines,” Florio added. |But it’s fair for the NFL to assess whether Arians [or anyone else] who isn’t a player or a coach has encroached into areas where the person shouldn’t be.”

Talking with Florio, Pro Football Talk’s Myles Simmons noted that Arians crossed into a section of the sideline reserved for players and coaches.

Bowles: ‘I Can Only Worry About My Team’

Bowles addressed Evans’ suspension on Monday and the fact that Lattimore didn’t also incur a suspension.

“I can only worry about my team,” Bowles told reporters. “I can only control what happens on this team and not worry about everybody else.”

The Bucs will play without Evans on September 25 against the Green Bay Packers in the home opener. Bowles hopes his team doesn’t get involved in another altercation in the future.

“We don’t want any fighting in our game because we lose a good player. It doesn’t help our team,” Bowles said. “We don’t condone that, we don’t teach that, we don’t want that in our game.”

Read More