TAMPA — Bruce Arians knew if he returned as a head coach in the NFL, Todd Bowles was coming with him.
"He's another one that's like a son to me," Arians said of Bowles on the Rich Eisen radio show Wednesday. "I was more talking to him about his future. We all get fired. I've been fired so many times I can't count them all. Then it led to this.
"He thought hard about it. I was doing my best sell job and this happened. We're really excited to be back together."
The former Jets head coach agreed to terms with the Bucs to become their defensive coordinator Wednesday.
Bowles also was courted by the Chicago Bears after defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was hired as the Denver Broncos head coach.
Arians coached Bowles at Temple, and he coached with him at Cleveland and Arizona.
Under Bowles, the Cardinals finished seventh in 2013 and fifth in '14 in scoring defense. They also had the top rushing defense in '13.
The Bucs also signed two other assistant coaches Wednesday. Former Cardinals assistant Harold Goodwin will be the assistant head coach and run game coordinator. Former Broncos offensive line coach Sean Kugler agreed to terms with the Bucs.
The Bucs were 31st in rushing average this season, gaining 3.8 yards per carry. The Broncos were tied for third with a 4.9 yard rushing average.
Kugler has some strong ties to the area. He graduated from the University of South Florida and his first coaching jobs were at Tampa Bay Tech and Gaither.