Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has lashed out at reports that his relationship with Tom Brady was in any way behind the quarterback's decision to retire a year ahead of his own stated schedule.
A year on from their own Super Bowl title celebrations, the Bucs are 25/1 to win Super Bowl LVII - but they have a huge offseason ahead of them as they try to find a new starting-calibre QB.
Speculation over how Brady may yet find his way onto another team's roster in 2022 has been rife recently.
"That would shock me,'' Arians said on Saturday. "And he let us know in time to do the free agency like we've done in the past, that's why I don't see it happening.''
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Arians' main frustration is with a series of what he calls "far-fetched" stories speculating on the reason why Brady called it quits a year ahead of his stated goal of playing at age 45 and with 12 months left on his Tampa Bay contract.
Former NFL player Rich Ohrnberger tweeted on Friday that he'd heard Arians created tension with Brady and Byron Leftwich by undermining the QB and offensive co-ordinator's weekly game plans.
"Heard some interesting things recently," Ohrnberger tweeted. "The Tom Brady & Bruce Arians honeymoon was over in Tampa,'' Ohrnberger tweeted. "The retirement announcement wasn't because of the trouble seeing eye to eye on the offensive game-planning, but the relationship was souring.''
The Bucs have ranked in the top three in total offense and scoring in all three seasons under Arians' charge. Not only were they were second with 30.1 points per game this past season, but Brady also led the NFL in passing yards 5,316 and 43 touchdowns.
"It seems like there's one every day now," Arians told the Tampa Bay Times. "Everybody is speculating he's going somewhere else. That don't bother me. This other [stuff], the relationship thing, that's so far-fetched."
"I mean, that's such [rubbish]. I guess probably Byron could corroborate this, too."
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