Another Piece To The Bruce Arians Retirement Mystery?

April 3rd, 2024

New/old Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead.

Joe isn’t calling anyone a liar, but Joe thinks it’s very safe to say the whole story of the surprise late-March 2022 resignation of former head coach Bucco Bruce Arians has never been revealed.

Joe no longer paces the halls of world headquarters thinking about what happened. The Red Pen files were shredded. And the intern working on this mystery resigned last June and now works at a strawberry farm.

However, that bizarre transition from Arians to Todd Bowles remains in the back of Joe’s mind.

Arians said the following in June of 2022: ” … succession was really, really big for me. It didn’t happen in Arizona. It meant the world to me to make sure 34 families [of coaches] had jobs beyond February. The Super Bowl wasn’t guaranteed, there’s nothing guaranteed, but now our guys have 5-year contracts. Todd’s got a 5-year deal and all the assistant coaches are set for the future.”

It sure sounded there like Arians said his assistant coaches got five-year contracts from the Bucs in 2022. Meanwhile, Bowles himself revealed this year that the contracts of co-offensive line coaches Harold Goodwin (a close friend of Arians) and Joe Gilbert ended after the 2023 season. And while the Bucs made them offers to return, they bolted for Carolina.

That brings Joe to Bowles’ appearance last week on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

The head coach talked about new/old Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead and how ecstatic he is to have him back on the roster.  Bowles said of Whitehead, who signed with the Jets about 10 days before Arians stepped down in 2022, “he was one of my favorite players when he was here.”

That really struck Joe. So Bowles unknowingly was 10 days from being head coach and the Bucs didn’t bring back one of his favorite players? At a position Bowles himself played in the NFL?

Joe realizes the Bucs were tight on the salary cap, but something feels odd, especially considering the Bucs dropped $8 million on fragile Akiem Hicks two months later, more than what Whitehead was earning.

47 Responses to “Another Piece To The Bruce Arians Retirement Mystery?”

  1. doolnutts Says:

    I think we thought Edwards would step up and he just didn’t. I was a little guilty of this myself. Loved Whitehead but I thought Edwards was ready as well. I was completely wrong and the bucs obviously thought the same.

  2. BuucccNASTY Says:

    Brady and Bowels had agendas, Arians was too old to want to deal with the drama so he stepped back and played peace maker with the media to avoid distractions for the organization. Sometimes the simple story is the true story, no conspiracy here

  3. sweti_yeti Says:

    No new dots connected.

    I’m not sure there’s anything more to the story than what Bruce has said and the organization has said. BA obviously wanted to be retired, otherwise he would have put himself out for other jobs. The succession plan was already in place within the organization.

  4. David Kilmer Says:

    Hi , I don’t know Joe, but they wanted to keep it secret for a reason. My guess was Bruce’s health and why put that out there.
    As far as Whitehead, Yes, I definitely was scratching my head on that one at the the time they let him go. The Bucs definitely paid a big price after he left as they never found a suitable replacement and the defense suffered tremendously. Have to give Light credit when he acknowledged it was a mistake.
    You have to give him that. Let’s hope he did not make the same mistake by not getting that edge rusher because currently the team is beyond thin at the position

  5. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist Says:

    It’s a well-known fact that Arians got ran because of a stipulation by Brady. Brady couldn’t handle Arians’ final say in the offensive gameplan on Fridays where he would scrap 50% of the gamelan that Leftwich and Brady crafted throughout the week. Brady viewed it as a ‘too many cons in the kitchen’ type of situation.

  6. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Joe, you’re stretching.
    Hamstrings only. –Joe

  7. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist Says:

    Typo… Too many *cooks in the kitchen

  8. zzbucs Says:

    I am sorry to say Joe, Not sure if I understand the article

  9. Simeon4HOF Says:

    CJ Stroud is one happy dude rn

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    This is in the same ballpark as “Why didn’t the Bucs trade for Reddick?”…Maybe Whitehead wanted to sign with the Jets and play in the big city, just like the Eagles didn’t want to trade a player to the team that destroyed them in the playoffs.
    Whitehead has said he didn’t want to leave, he regularly stayed in touch with teammates and didn’t sell his Tampa crib.–Joe

  11. sweti_yeti Says:

    Erik Hesson | Fine Artist Says:
    April 3rd, 2024 at 11:04 am

    It’s a well-known fact that Arians got ran because of a stipulation by Brady.

    *got run

    Also, NOT a well known fact… just an often repeated rumor. Usually regurgitated by people with bad grammar.

  12. Dave Pear Says:

    No conspiracy stuff. Arians is a fiery and sometimes volatile guy, and he was hurting and probably really pissed like the rest of us that Todd totally humped the mutt in the last 35 seconds of the Rams game after the Brady magic. Who knows what triggered him but something did so he said “eff it.”

    And he probably wanted Leftwich to be HC over Todd.

    Either way, sadly, his two favorite sons are not head coaching material. One is too obviously not cut out for it and will never have the job. The other is proving it, curating losing records with two teams as head coach.

  13. Baking with Evans Says:

    Put down the Bromosa!
    Or maybe I need a Bromosa to connect the dots….
    Anyway, I hope Joe is proud to receive another comment.

    When is the draft????

  14. BillyBucco Says:

    I think I just saw a UFO.
    Wait no, that was Joe’s brain flying by.

  15. Cover deuce Says:

    Is there a gas leak at JBF world HQ?
    Beans for breakfast.–Joe

  16. Simeon4HOF Says:

    Something does seem wrong .. Helium would explain the no more podcasts, voice too high pitched. Doubt Arians stepped down over a Whitehead rift

  17. ATLBUC Says:

    Brady wanted more control of the offense and ran him off. Which eventually got Leftwich run off.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It seems the long arms of BA didn’t extend to Byron……1 and done after Bruce B Gone…..

  19. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The R Cage signing to placate Brady seems to be the most likely reason Bucs let Whitehead go to Jets

  20. Cardiac kidz Says:

    The dog days of spring

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Joe can’t speak to the limits of anyone’s critical thinking skills.–Joe”

    Count me among simple-minded people, because I do not see it either. That’s okay though…still a good read.

  22. heyjude Says:

    I think AB may have put Arians over the edge. He got to be a handful. We were very lucky to have Brady for awhile. It is sort of confusing on the reasoning of why they did allow Whitehead to go if they knew Bowles would be coaching and would want to keep him. Something to that.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Dave Pear … ‘Who knows what triggered him but something did so he said “eff it.” And he probably wanted Leftwich to be HC over Todd.’

    The thing that was so odd was the timing. Why did BA wait until the very end of March to make his retirement announcement? That’s the part that doesn’t make sense, UNLESS … he wanted to make sure that HIS GUY was the only HC candidate the Glazers considered. Speculating that something ‘triggered him’ makes sense, but what if not that? Tom Brady made his ‘unretiring’ announcement on Sunday, Mar 13, 2022. Bruce stepped down over 2 weeks later on March 30, 2022 and handed the reins to Todd Bowles.

    From the announcements at the time, Todd Bowles sounded totally surprised about BA’s decision to step down. And there was never any talk of Byron assuming the HC reins, although Todd did keep Byron on as OC for another (painful) year.

    And when BA arrived here in 2019, I remember just about everyone expecting him to retire in 2-3 years. I also remember how surprised I was that he got Todd Bowles to sign on as his DC (Bucs were a VERY bad defense in 2018, as in ranked #31, and Bowles was being talked about for several other, much better, DC opportunities). I still remember writing on JBF that there must’ve been some really juicy incentives for Todd to even take this DC job, such as his own draft picks (which I still think played out in the 2019 draft & very likely a HC opportunity when BA retired.

  24. 2023 Surprised the Hell out of me Says:

    I think I just saw a UFO.
    Wait no, that was Joe’s brain flying by…

    Too funny …. now we are throwing Joe under the bus… lol

  25. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    No, the first poster was right: still not sure what Whitehead had to do with Arians. Todd (or Jason) thought Whitehead was limited at that number considering everything else we had to bring back roster-wise. He improved his coverage skills, we lost his replacement (Edwards), & Neal wasn’t good. Whitehead back, Bruce still gone, no connection whatsoever.

  26. catcard202 Says:

    IMO, Arians walked to enable Brady’s return…100% believe that the Man U/London meeting of the Glazers & Brady in mid-MAR 2022 was where Brady’s return to Tampa & Arians retirement plan was hatched.

    It’s no coincidence that ~2 weeks after of the London meeting…Arians announced he was stepping into a non-coaching role within the Bucs Org & Bowles was taking over HC duties.

    The Glazers chose their cash-cow TB12 merch sales over rebooting the QB situation & anything Bruce brought to the table.

    Hesson is 100% on the right track with Brady huffing & puffing over BA red-lining the game plans & plays Brady wanted/pushed Lefty to install….Which ultimately cost Lefty his job & rung up Tb12’s only losing season… (IE…the 2019 NE style Dink & Dunk that was deployed in 2022…Because Tommy Boy didn’t like taking hits to make the Arians vertical passing attack work!!! you know…They system that won a SB in Tampa & nearly got them back a 2nd time if not for Bowles’ DEF late game letdown vs the Rams.)

  27. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Tend to believe that conspiracy theory that BA and TB had a power struggle and ownership sold more tickets with the “GOAT” than the QB whisperer. Was a suspiciously fast and unlooked for retirement.

  28. Toad Bowels Says:

    Of course!–Joe

  29. It's Corn Says:

    Seems pretty likely to me that:
    1) Brady wanted to go to Miami (for ownership, his marriage, who knows)
    2) He threatened to retire
    3) They called his bluff
    4) He called their bluff
    4) Glazers sat him down in England and they reached a compromise he’d come back but only if Arians was gone
    5) Arians made a deal not to protest on the condition Bowles was made head coach

  30. sweti_yeti Says:

    People can have all their (conspiracy) theories about BA’s retirement. Fact is, there’s never been an ounce of information that has EVER come out to validate ANY of them.

    Facts we know:
    1. Jason Licht hired BA with the idea of establishing a succession plan.
    2. It was already widely expected that Bowles would take over when BA retired.
    3. There has never been any substantiation of the rumor of an issue between BA and Brady.

    Without anything more than rumors, I’m inclined to believe the official word of the organization.

  31. Dave Pear Says:

    To quote from George Thorogood, “that don’t befront me.”

    Es macht nichts.

    It’s whatevs. Look forward to JL finding another gem in the dumpster.

  32. HC Grover Says:

    Ariens was jealous of Brady….period.

  33. Dave Pear Says:

    It might be noted, Brady had the only losing season of his life with Bowels as his head coach. Anyone believing that Arians couldn’t have gotten more out of that offense, and hence at least two more wins than the Todder is taking too much Thorazine.

    And BA would have had them ready for the Dallas game instead of the zombie walk we watched.

  34. Show Me the TDs Says:

    TMZ much?

  35. Clay Says:

    What’s truly bizarre is why Joe’s intern fled for Strawberry Fields. Forever?

  36. Pirates Life Says:


  37. Shane Callahan Says:

    Very interesting… Sounds sorta like Stoops stepping down for Lincoln Riley only for that turncoat to pull a Kevin Durant and jet for USC. Fyi- Two most unliked sports figures in OK: Lincoln and Durant.

  38. Shane Callahan Says:

    Good news! The Sooners AND Thunder are now better off without them. 🤣🤣🤣

  39. infomeplease Says:

    From what I remember…BA went into the hospital about a month or so after the HC switch.

  40. Shane Callahan Says:

    You’re right. BA did go to the hospital. Stoops sited health problems too…

  41. infomeplease Says:

    Dave Pear… 100% agree with you!!!!

  42. Shane Callahan Says:

    Fyi, When you go to basic training, your group of enlistees get thrown in together with another group. My group was Okie kids with Tampa Bay kids. We really got along and are more alike than y’all probably think.

  43. Shane Callahan Says:

    3 unfortunate New Jersey kids got thrown in with the Okie/ Tampa group, and they definitely did not fit in for some reason.

  44. Shane Callahan Says:

    I turn 50 next month. Apologies for reminiscing, but I’ve felt a connection to you all decades before Baker joined your ship. (No NFL team in OK; go Bucs!)

  45. TampaTony13 Says:

    Welcome Shane Callahan glad to have you brother! Go Bucs!!!

  46. Pruritus Ani Says:

    Arians retirement is an X File. The Truth is out there. …Somewhere.

  47. Particular set of skills Says:

    I do think there was more to it. The “tipping” point most likely in how the AB situation unfolded. A wr is a diva (with a touch of concussed crazy) is one thing to managr. It is another to have to manage a head coach.

    I think “Its corn” had it pretty close without knowing the facts/details. Especially with point 4 & 5.

    Bowles demeanor was more akin to what Brady was accustomed to. Miami wasnt happening and they were not letting him free. That is also probably why they didn’t do a deal to spread Bradys hit over 2 years. He was like heck no….

    Add in the divorce, Jensen going down and Brady not wanting to take a hit nor be here all but put the dagger in a successful run.

    I could see it in Gronks eyes on close-ups in the huddle. It was like he was saying (to himself) wth am I doing here still blocking and grtting best on. Im done…. I got that same feeling/vibe im Bradys last year….

    Also makes the bowles statement after Brady was done done (2nd retirement) make a lot of sense. Bowles said he wanted players here that WANTED to be here. With the exception of MAYBE Deviin White (& he wanted to be here but just at stoopid $$$), who else could he be talking about?

    Finally, I don’t know if a SS is as importsnt as a FS in bowles defense. In the Tampa 2 it was very important…. So it makes sense to put more $$ in the D-line than a secondary that was already going to allocate too much $$ to the CB position. Once both Davis & Dean had big extensions , my fears of Schiano started creeping back into my nightmares….