A former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is about to begin his professional coaching career.
On Wednesday, June 8, the XFL announced the names of 12 of the 14 offensive and defensive coordinators for the league’s eight teams. According to the press release, former Buccaneers starting quarterback and draft pick Bruce Gradkowski will serve as an offensive coordinator for one of the clubs. The 39-year-old will serve under former NFL tight end Anthony Becht, who will serve as head coach of the team.
“I’m thrilled to officially welcome our OCs and DCs to the XFL,” said Marc Ross, Executive Vice President, Football Operations. “Individually and collectively, these are tremendous coaches and true leaders whose expertise will be crucial not only for the success of their teams, but for the dynamic football product we will deliver to fans,” said Marc Ross, Executive Vice President, Football Operations.”
Gradkowski Started 2006 Season for Buccaneers
Gradkowski began his NFL career with the Buccaneers back in 2006, when he was selected in the sixth round by the franchise. Despite entering the season as a backup, Gradkowski ended up starting the majority of the year due to starter Chris Simms suffering a ruptured spleen. The University of Toledo product started 11 of his 13 appearances and threw for nine touchdowns against nine interceptions.
The late-round draft pick would spend one more season with the Buccaneers before he was waived in the offseason in 2008. Gradkowski would go on to latch with the Cleveland Browns before spending a couple of seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders. Gradkowski would end up starting eight games while making 13 appearances as the Raiders’ primary backup during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Gradkowski would eventually end his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending four seasons as a backup before the Steelers released him in the middle of the 2016 season after landing on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
The University of Toledo alum ended his career having spent time on NFL rosters across 11 seasons while throwing 21 touchdowns against 24 interceptions in 20 starts.
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Arians: If Brady Hadn’t Come Back, I’d Still Be Coaching
Former Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians wants to stress it again; he’d still be coaching if Tom Brady had never come out of retirement.
Just two weeks after Brady announced his decision to un-retire, Arians announced he himself would retire as a head coach and step into a front office position with Tampa Bay. According to Arians, he likely would not have stepped aside — and would have coached one more season — had Brady not decided to come back.
“It was 90 percent that (this) year would be my last, anyway,” said Arians. “Seventy (years old) was going to be it.”
Arians — who turns 70 years old in October — stressed that he did not want to leave new head coach and former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles with a less-than-ideal situation with Blaine Gabbert or Kyle Trask starting instead of Brady.
“I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play,” Arians continued. “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.”
With Brady back in the fold and much of the core from the Super Bowl squad of two years prior back for another run, the Bucs appear to be in good hands heading into the 2022 season.