Bruce Arians offers new explanation for why he stepped down as Buccaneers head coach

It took a few years, but Bucco Bruce's story has slightly changed.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for an important offseason, it's worth remembering how different things were just two years ago.

This year the team has tasks like trying to re-sign Antoine Winfield Jr., Baker Mayfield, and Mike Evans while using some extra money to help improve a roster that reached the NFC Divisional Round. This time two years ago, also after losing in the divisional round, the Bucs were reeling from losing both its future Hall of Fame quarterback and its fearless head coach.

Bruce Arians stunned the football world by walking away from the Bucs head coaching job in Feburary 2022. It's hard to believe it was that recent as it already feels like ages ago, but it set in forth a series of events that got us to this point.

It's a decision that many Bucs fans still wish hadn't gone down the way it did, even though Todd Bowles might have finally found his footing as Arians' successor. Bucco Bruce has remained close to the Bucs after stepping away as head coach, taking on an advisory role in the front office, and has now shed more light on why he chose to walk away when he did.

Bruce Arians offers new explanation for why he stepped down as Bucs head coach

It didn't feel like a big secret why Arians stepped away, as he noted at the time it was because he wanted Todd Bowles to take over the job after getting overlooked by the rest of the league. On paper, it was a noble decision, as the roster seemed primed for Bowles to have extraordinary success and combat the ongoing narrative about minority head coaches in the NFL.

That's still a major reason why Arians stepped away, but he sat down with Rock Riley and gave a bit more insight into his decision. He admitted his health as a major motivating factor in addition to wanting his assistant coaches to have the spotlight instead of him.

“I tore my Achilles, you know, that year before. Standing on the sidelines was getting harder with some issues just being out there for four hours standing," Arians said. "I didn’t like Todd [Bowles] and Byron [Leftwich] getting passed over that year. You know, I thought they both deserved to be head coaches. You know, so a lot of things went into that decision. When we did it, it was just I think perfect timing for all of us.”

Keep in mind, that's different from his original retirement announcement which went out of its way to explain that health was not a factor in the decision.

To be fair, most people assumed, despite what Arians said back in 2022, that this health played a role in the decision. He wasn't shy about his health leading up to taking the job with the Bucs and it was something that caused the team to be among the league's strictest COVID policy followers during the pandemic.

Arians. had a health scare not long after he stepped away, needing to be hospitalized after suffering symptoms similar to a heart attack.

This new insight suggests that the health issues were less about anything serious and more to do with ailments that were causing discomfort rather than danger. It also makes sense why he would have downplayed it and avoided saying anything about his health; it likely would have been easily misconstrued as something he wasn't intending it to be and would have stolen thunder away from a big moment for a guy he was trying to spotlight.

Classic Bruce Arians in every possible way.

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