The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are promoting a familiar name to their defensive coordinator position.
Following Bruce Arians’ decision to step down, former Bucs defensive coordinator and new head coach Todd Bowles made a major announcement during his introductory press conference on Thursday, March 31. The Buccaneers will have two assistant coaches fill the defensive coordinator position. Tampa Bay will promote inside linebackers coach Larry Foote and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers as co-defensive coordinators.
Foote is a former two-time Super Bowl champion who carved out a 13-year career in the NFL as an outside linebacker. He’s best known for his 11 seasons spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the franchise that selected him with a fourth-round pick in the 2002 NFL draft.
“Todd Bowles says he will continue to call the Bucs defense as head coach,” said Auman. “Kacy Rodgers and Larry Foote will be co-defensive coordinators.”
Foote initially joined the Buccaneers as an assistant coach for the 2019 season as a member of Bruce Arians’ first-year staff. The 41-year-old coach began his career on the sidelines as an assistant linebackers coach with the Arizona Cardinals back in 2015 when Arians was the head coach of the franchise. He was eventually promoted to linebackers coach for the 2016 season.
Although the former NFL veteran never garnered a Pro Bowl or All-Pro selection in his career, he made a name for himself in the Steelers’ 3-4 defensive alignment. Foote ranked second on the Steelers in tackles (102) when they won the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2005 season. He also started all 16 games during Pittsburgh’s second Super Bowl title during his career in 2008.
In 13 seasons played with the Steelers, Detroit Lions and Cardinals, Foote started 134 of his 187 appearances, not missing a single start between the 2004 and 2008 seasons.
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Foote Was Under Consideration for Michigan Job
While Foote will get his first chance at being a defensive coordinator in the 2022 season, his alma mater was reportedly interested in pursuing him in the same role.
According to a report from Sam Webb of the Michigan Insider back in January, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reached out to Foote for the defensive coordinator job. The Wolverines wound up hiring Jesse Minter for the vacant position, but the fact that Foote was under consideration for a team that advanced to the College Football Playoff this past season speaks volumes.
Foote made 28 career starts with the Wolverines and finished his prestigious career at Michigan with All-Big-Ten First-Team selections in 2000 and 2001 along with First-Team All-American selection during his senior season in 2001. He was also named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after his 2001 season.
King Chimes in on Brady-Arians Friction
With Arians stepping down a few weeks following Tom Brady’s decision to return, speculation has run rampant that it’s due to the friction between the two.
Peter King of NBC Sports details during his Monday, April 4 column that while it’s true the two had friction, he’s not buying that Arians’ decision to retire as head coach is due to Brady’s input.
“What really happened at the end of the Arians era? Was he pushed overboard by Tom Brady? We don’t know. All parties deny it, but because associates of Brady said Brady was beginning to chafe at Arians after two seasons with him, a level-jump has been made. The jump: Brady said he’d come back if Arians was gone, and then Arians was gone, and so Brady must have done it. I don’t doubt the friction, and I don’t know if Brady acted on the friction. Anyone got the facts to support it? If so, let’s hear them.”
With Arians no longer the Buccaneers head coach, he’ll serve as a “senior consultant for football” for Tampa Bay.