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Bucs ‘in good hands moving forward,’ says a Super Bowl champ with Gators

Florida assistant Darnell Stapleton played for Bruce Arians and with Byron Leftwich and Larry Foote. Here’s what he said about the Bucs.
Darnell Stapleton won Super Bowl 43 at Raymond James Stadium while playing under Bruce Arians (then a Steelers assistant).
Darnell Stapleton won Super Bowl 43 at Raymond James Stadium while playing under Bruce Arians (then a Steelers assistant). [ DAVID J. PHILLIP | AP (2009) ]
Published Apr. 13

GAINESVILLE — Though Florida Gators assistant Darnell Stapleton never played for the Bucs, he has an interest in what happens with the team.

Stapleton was the starting right guard on the Steelers squad that won Super Bowl 43 at Raymond James Stadium. His offensive coordinator: Bruce Arians.

“That’s my guy …” Stapleton said after Tuesday’s practice at UF. “He was going to tell you how it was, but he was also going to love you up and let you know that he cared about you, and I think that rubs off on all his players. Phenomenal teacher, phenomenal mentor. I’m happy that he had the career that he did as a coach and what he’s done in Tampa.”

Arians shocked the area last month when he announced his retirement, turning the franchise over to Todd Bowles. Arians remains in the Bucs’ front office and is set to be inducted into their Ring of Honor this season.

Despite Stapleton’s fondness for Arians, he still has a lot of faith in the Bucs for personal reasons. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and co-defensive coordinator Larry Foote both were teammates of his in Pittsburgh.

“I’m happy to know that team will be in good hands going forward,” Stapleton said.

Related: What we’ve learned about Billy Napier’s army of Florida Gators analysts

Stapleton is in his first spring as one of the Gators’ two offensive line coaches. He previously worked with first-year UF coach Billy Napier at Louisiana.

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