TAMPA — In Joel Glazer’s mind, Bruce Arians’ farewell spawned a foregone conclusion.
Get the retired Bucs coach in the team’s Ring of Honor, pronto.
“Without a doubt,” the Bucs co-owner said Thursday at a news conference doubling as a tribute to Arians, who announced Wednesday he was stepping down and transitioning to an advisory-type role in the front office, and the introduction of his successor, Todd Bowles.
“If someone deserves to go right up into that Ring of Honor for what he’s done for this franchise, what he represents — a trendsetter, a leader in the National Football League, opening doors … .”
Glazer stunned Arians when he essentially opened the news conference by announcing that the coach who led the franchise to its second Super Bowl title would become the Ring of Honor’s 14th inductee in the 2022 season. Arians, 69, will join John McKay and Tony Dungy as head coaches in the Ring of Honor.
Former coach Jon Gruden was removed from the Ring of Honor last year following a report revealing his use of racist, misogynistic and homophobic language in emails over a period of several years.
Longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin also is in the Ring of Honor.
“That was a little bit of shock,” Arians said of Glazer’s announcement.
“I don’t tend to get emotional, but that got to me. What an honor. You do things in your life and you get rewarded with something like that, that never goes away. It’s huge. It’s huge for our family, and I’m kind of looking forward to the day now.”
In only three seasons as coach, Arians compiled the third-most regular-season wins of any Bucs coach (31), and he owns the franchise’s best winning percentage (.655). The five playoff wins amassed on his watch are only one fewer than the team previously had totaled in its history.
An outspoken proponent of diversity, Arians had three Black coordinators and two women on his coaching staff.
“He is everything, when you go check-check-check for a person who goes into the Ring of Honor,” Glazer said. “And I personally think (he) deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”
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