Tom Brady says it was a privilege to play for Bruce Arians after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach stepped down to take up a front office role less than three weeks after the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback reversed his retirement decision.
The Bucs, 15/2 to re-take the Lombardi Trophy next year, are promoting Todd Bowles to replace Arians as the new head coach.
The former New York Jets head coach, who has been one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in football over the past few years, is getting a new five-year contract and a salary in line with other NFL head coaches.
Arians finishes 80-48-1 as a head coach with two NFL Coach of the Year awards and one Super Bowl ring - from the Brady-led 2020 season.
In the 69-yeaer-old's third season with the team, the Buccaneers finished with a 13-4 record, then defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round, before losing to eventual the Super Bowl LVI champion Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round.
Brady then shocked the sporting world by retiring before his previously stated goal of playing at age 45 only to announce his dramatic U-turn on 14th March.
The legendary quarterback was quick to pay tribute to Arians once the retirement announcement became official.
"Thank you, BA for all that you have done for me and our team," he wrote on Instagram.
"You are an incredible man and coach, and it was a privilege to play for you. You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive."
That last line refers to the legacy Arians leaves with the Bucs, whose staff will remain the most diverse in the NFL.
Including Bowles, all of Arians' top assistants were Black - assistant head coach Harold Godwin, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong while linebackers coach Larry Foote and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers, who will split defensive coordinator duties going forward, are too.
The first female coaches on a team to win a Super Bowl, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar, did it as members of Arians' staff.