Arians: Brady return enabled move to Buccaneers front office

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he would still be leading the team if Tom Brady did not decide to come out of retirement.

Not long after Tampa Bay’s playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Brady retired and the Buccaneers were left without a proven quarterback on their roster.

Less than six weeks later, the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback opted to return and two weeks later, Arians announced that he would be stepping down as head coach and moving into a role in the Bucs' front office, with Todd Bowles becoming the new head coach.

The new Senior Football Consultant explained he was unwilling to leave Bowles with uncertainty at the quarterback position, with Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask on the roster.

"I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play," Arians said. "I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody in the draft.

"That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine and Kyle. 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.”

Because of the timing, rumours circulated that a rift existed between Brady and Arians, but Arians stuck to his line that he had already been thinking about quitting and did not want to leave Bowles with an unsettled quarterback situation.

Arians, who turns 70 in October, also said that he was “upset” with the hiring cycle and expected both Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to get head coaching jobs. He also admitted that the upcoming season would have been his last anyway.

“I had a bunch of people lined up to take their jobs,” Arians said. “When they were both here and Tom came back, I thought it was the perfect time.”

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