“Now, before you start thinking this is goodbye, it isn’t,” Arians wrote in the text message, which NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo shared via Twitter. “I’ll still be around the offices and available to cuss you out when you screw things up on the practice field. I look forward to connecting with many of you in person when the offseason program starts to heat up.”
Arians will serve as senior football consultant for the Bucs after stepping down from head coach on March 30. His announcement came suddenly after the March 13 return of Tom Brady and a successful start to free agency in mid March.
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Arians Text ‘Echoes’ Retirement Announcement
As Garafolo noted, Arians’ text “echoes what he’s said elsewhere about the reason for the timing of his decision.” Pro Football Talk’s Peter King and the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer broke the news of Arians’ retirement.
“I wanted to let you all know, before it becomes news in a few minutes, that I have made the decision to transition from coaching into a role in the front office helping Jason [Licht] and his staff,” Arians texted to the players. “Todd [Bowles] is going to be named the new coach and I know he is going to do a great job continuing to build upon the success we have experienced together these past few seasons.”
Arians told King, “succession has always been huge for me” and saw it as the right time to hand it over to Bowles. It had been long-rumored that Bowles, who has known Arians since 1983, that he would succeed Arians in Tampa Bay. Bowles notably had head coaching interviews with other teams this offseason before staying on with the Bucs.
Arians also told King that Brady’s return helped the decision because it leaves the Bucs “in probably the best shape” ever, and Arians said he wanted to set Bowles up to succeed instead of facing a rebuild. Bowles coached the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018 before he came to Tampa as the defensive coordinator.
“With Tom coming back, the guys we’ve been able to retain, and the new free agents we’ve added, I know this team is built for continued success. That’s why I know now is the time. I want Todd and the rest of your coaches to have every chance to succeed — and I know they will.”
Arians ‘Thought Really Hard About Going Out on Top’
Arians told King that he “thought really hard about going out on top” after winning Super Bowl LV. Arians decided on going for a repeat instead in 2021.
“I wanted to take a minute and thank all of you for your hard work and dedication to this team. It has been a hell of a ride coaching you guys these past three seasons,” Arians texted the players. “Winning the Super Bowl a couple seasons back was the last real thing I hoped to accomplish as a head coach.”
“That was a special season, and any of you that were here for that know just how much sacrifice and self discipline it took to accomplish that goal,” Arians added. “We couldn’t have had this great success without each of you sacrificing and buying into what we were trying to do here.”