Bucs make Bruce Arians take full physical, include his doctor as part of interview process

Multiple reports have indicated he could be announced as Bucs head coach as early as Tuesday.
Bruce Arians appears ready to return to the sideline as the Bucs head coach. [AP Photo/David Zalubowski]
Bruce Arians appears ready to return to the sideline as the Bucs head coach. [AP Photo/David Zalubowski]
Published Jan. 8, 2019|Updated Jan. 8, 2019

TAMPA — One year after tearfully saying he wasn't "enjoying the game'' as much as he had in the past and retiring from the Cardinals, Bruce Arians appears ready to return to the sideline as the Bucs' head coach.

Though the sides had not begun negotiations by early Monday afternoon, multiple reports indicated that Arians could be announced as coach as early as today and he was planning to bring most of his coaching staff from the Cardinals to Tampa Bay.

That may include former Jets head coach Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator.

What made Arians walk away from coaching and the NFL in the first place?

RELATED: The big 'if' that would accompany Bruce Arians to Tampa Bay

Now 66, a combination of health scares and a desire to spend more time with family seemed to be the reasons.

The Bucs made Arians undergo a complete physical at a Tampa hospital Saturday and included a discussion with his personal physician as part of the interview process, Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported.

"(The Bucs) put his doctor as part of the interview process,'' Glazer said on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" radio show Monday. "They basically made him take a physical. He's down there, go to the hospital, get a full physical. They're talking to his doctor. I've never head of a doctor being part of the interview process. And he's gone through some health stuff.''

Arians' primary job with the Bucs would be to get more out of quarterback Jameis Winston, who enters the fifth and final season of his rookie contract this year.

Arians has nurtured quarterbacks including Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer.

"If anybody can right that quarterback, it's Bruce Arians,'' Glazer said.

Arians had one year left on his contract and an option for 2019 when he left the Cardinals after the 2017 season after five seasons.

"Something just changed for me this year," Arians said when announcing his retirement. "It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what that was, hard to put into words. And I wasn't enjoying the game as much as I had in the past.

"This wasn't fair to my players, my coaches or the fans. So I informed Michael (Bidwell, Cardinals president) that this would be my final year of coaching.''

Arians' health has been a concern in the past. He discovered in December 2016 he had renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. He decided to finish the season before having surgery to remove part of his kidney in February 2017.

Arians had beaten cancer two other times. He had prostate cancer in 2007, and in 2013 he had cancerous cells scraped from his nose.

Arians also had to deal with diverticulitis in the 2016 preseason, and he spent a night in the hospital as a precaution after the Cardinals played a preseason game.

Diverticulitis is inflammation or infection of small pouches called diverticula that develop along the walls of the intestines. Constipation is frequent, and it can cause nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.

Perhaps it was that series of health scares, or the realization that he was missing out on valuable family time, that contributed to his decision to leave the Cardinals.

"I need to be a husband, a dad and a grandfather,'' Arians said in a piece he wrote for the website the Athletic. "But as I weighed my decision, my thoughts kept returning to my family — to my wife, Chris; to my son, Jake, and my daughter, Kristi. I missed so much of my children's development because I was imprisoned in the office.

"One of the first rules I told my assistants in Arizona when I got the head coaching job in 2013 was that they had to be out of the office by 10 p.m. And if they ever needed to be at one of their children's games or recitals and anything that was important, I always encouraged them to go, no matter what time of day they needed to leave the office. These are times you can't get back.

"Now I have a baby grandson, Asher, who lives with my daughter and son-in-law in Birmingham, Ala. I wasn't available during much of my granddaughter Presley's childhood in Birmingham. I was so far away from her coaching in Pittsburgh (from 2004-11 as wide receivers coach and then offensive coordinator) and so tied down to football that I felt like I couldn't get away. And I'm not going to let that happen again with Asher.

"I want to be active in Asher's life. I call him 'Fuzz' because of the fuzzy hair he had on his body when he was born. And I don't want him to only see me on television on Sundays. I want to teach him how to fish, how to play golf, how to throw a football, things I wish I had had more time to do with my own children. I'm not going to miss out on the chance of being a grandfather who is present in his life.''

Bruce, whose coaching career began in 1975, and Chris have a lakeside house in Georgia.

"Probably one of the hardest things for me this year was sitting at the lake this summer and Chris said, 'You know, Jake's going to be 40,' '' Arians wrote for the Athletic. "I mean it hit me like a ton of bricks that I missed all that time.''