Tom Brady drama: Bruce Arians denies that friction with QB had anything to do with coach’s decision to retire

Bruce Arians sent shockwaves around the NFL on Wednesday night when he surprisingly announced that he would be retiring as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Almost as soon as Arians made his announcement, speculation started that friction with Tom Brady might have played a part in Arians’ decision to step down. The two-time NFL coach of the year was asked about that possibility on Wednesday, but he shot that down. 

“Tom was very in favor of what I’m doing,” Arians said, via NBC Sports. “I mean, I had conflicts with every player I coached because I cussed them all out, including him. Great relationship off the field.”

The interesting thing about Arians’ answer is that he’s basically admitting there was friction with Brady by saying he had conflicts with every player. 

There had actually been reports of friction between the two men over the past few months and Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht didn’t exactly deny the reports when he was asked about them on March 21. 

“There’s always going to be some friction between people on a staff and players and a coach,” Licht said when specifically asked if there was friction between Brady and Arians, via “It’s just normal.”

Like Arians, Licht basically confirmed that there was friction between the two guys, but he downplayed it by adding that it’s “normal” for a player to have that kind of relationship with a coach. What’s not necessarily normal is the timeline of Arians’ sudden retirement that wasn’t actually so sudden. 

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Brady has known for more than two weeks that Arians planned to step down. As a matter of fact, the TB Times has reported that Brady was informed of Arians’ retirement decision on either March 13 or March 14, which is extremely notable, because Brady announced his comeback on March 13. On one hand, the two decisions happening at almost the same time could certainly be a spectacular coincidence, but on the other hand, it seems completely possible that Arians’ relationship with Brady could have played a small role in his decision to retire. 

The Buccaneers told the Times that Brady’s decision to return to the NFL had nothing to do with Arians’ decision to call it quits, but the timing of both events will certainly pique the interest of anyone who thinks otherwise. 

In the weeks after Brady’s original retirement announcement back on Feb. 1, one of the quarterback’s former teammates in New England (Rich Ohrnberger) reported that Brady and Arians weren’t getting along. 

Ohrnberger whiffed on a story about Patrick Mahomes earlier this offseason, so it’s easy to attack his credibility, but he spent three years with Brady in New England and is good friends with Buccaneers offensive assistant coach A.Q. Shipley, so it’s very possible that he knows what he’s talking about. 

Also, in the days after Brady announced his NFL return, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported there was enough friction between the two that a coaching change wouldn’t be completely out of the question, but Breer didn’t think there would ultimately be one because he thought it was too late in the offseason for that to happen. 

None of this means that Brady played a part in forcing Arians out, but there’s definitely a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s at least a possibility. One thing that didn’t force Arians into retirement was his health. Arians, 69, has battled cancer and recently tore his Achilles, but he said on Wednesday that his health didn’t play a part in his decision. 

“Before you start thinking this is about my health, don’t,” Arians said in a statement. “This is the best I have felt in many years and I’m looking forward to helping this team continue winning through my new role.”

Although it’s not clear if Brady and Arians got along, one thing is clear: The quarterback was very complimentary of his former head coach after the retirement announcement. Brady praised Arians in a social media post and you can check that out by clicking here. 


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