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Bruce Arians is fine with starters missing the offseason

But the Bucs head coach wants to see the team’s rookies and backups before the mandatory minicamp.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, left,  talks with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles during a practice in November at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, left, talks with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles during a practice in November at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published May 14
Updated May 14

TAMPA — Bruce Arians is thrilled to have all 22 starters returning from the Bucs’ Super Bowl 55 team.

But the head coach says he wouldn’t be upset if his frontline guys did not participate in organized team activities this summer until the mandatory minicamp June 7-9.

It was a surprising admission given that Bucs players were among those that issued a statement through the NFL Players Association saying they did not plan to participate in offseason workouts.

In fact, Tom Brady made an impassioned plea on an NFLPA conference call for players to stick together and negotiate a new agreement for the offseason.

Brady is expected to begin throwing again next week following offseason knee surgery. But Arians has told Brady ― and his other veterans ― he doesn’t need to see them during OTAs.

On Friday, the Bucs began their rookie minicamp.

“I’m really excited to get these guys in here, because to me it’s the start of the season,” Arians said of the rookies. “I’m sure we’ll have a bunch more of our guys show up the next few weeks. I don’t necessarily want our veterans here, our starters here until minicamp. But we need the bottom half of our roster working.”

As for Brady, Arians said he wants his quarterback to take things slow.

“I told him, ‘Just take it easy,’” Arians said. “He wants to get his arm in shape, but he’s got to take time on that leg. You throw with your legs as much as your arm. He knows that, so just take your time and make sure you’re right.”

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