Oct 24, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs the ball in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers not planning to trade RB Ronald Jones

Even his tested no-risk it, no biscuit mantra has boundaries, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians knows.

And those limits are being applied to Tampa’s willingness to part with backup running back Ronald Jones before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline on Tuesday.

Arians said last month it would take a significant offer to pry Jones away from the team. On Tuesday, he said only an “extraordinary” offer would be good enough.

“It would have to be something really, really special. Because I love the way he’s running,” Arians said of Jones. “It’s just one nick on Leonard and then Rojo’s the guy. And so to me, it’s still a great one-two punch. It would have to be extraordinary.”

Jones has been linked to teams with needs at the position, including the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and more recently the Tennessee Titans. NFL leading rusher Derrick Henry could miss two months or more with a foot injury that will require Tuesday morning surgery.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and Titans GM Jon Robinson are noted friends who speak regularly.

Jones has just 44 carries this season behind Leonard Fournette and his opportunities to fill in on third downs are gone with Giovani Bernard operating as the niche role receiver this season.

A second-round pick in 2018, Jones entered last season as the starter and remained in place until he was derailed by COVID-19. Fournette gained momentum down the stretch and all the way to the Super Bowl.

Arians said last month depth for the 17-game season and any possible playoff games would be critical.

“It’s a long season,” he said.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians: Buccaneers 100 percent vaccinated

Every member of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers is fully vaccinated, head coach Bruce Arians said Thursday.

“We’re 100% vaccinated — our entire organization — all the players, all the coaches, everybody,” Arians said.

The Buccaneers join their NFC South division rival Atlanta Falcons as the only NFL teams to proclaim 100 percent vaccination. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL chief medical officer, said more than 93 percent of the players in the league are on schedule to be fully vaccinated by Week 1.

Arians said privately and repeatedly publicly he wanted the Buccaneers to treat COVID as an opponent and not take unnecessary chances in a state where the positive cases and hospitalizations were at record highs in August.

Several players were slower to come around to the idea of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Running back Leonard Fournette said he was not interested in the vaccine at the outset of training camp. After consideration, he said he decided it was the right thing to do.

“People are still catching it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot,” Fournette said. “We need every hand in here for these next couple big games we’ve got coming up.”

On Thursday, kicker Ryan Succop was activated from the COVID/reserve list. He’s the lone player in the organization to test positive, and the result came after he had dinner with visiting players from the Tennessee Titans last week.

Recently, the Titans have had at least 10 players in COVID-19 protocols.

Arians told players he doesn’t care what the NFL sets forth as protocols, because his rules will be more stringent.

“There’s league rules and then there’s my rules,” Arians said. “We ain’t going anywhere (in terms of players mingling with the general population). We’re the same as last year. I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain’t going anywhere.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians looks on before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians imposes stricter COVID rules for Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have barely been affected by COVID-19 during training camp, losing just one player, and coach Bruce Arians intends to keep it that way.

Arians said Wednesday that he is employing strict protocols in order to keep his players available.

“There’s league rules and then there’s my rules,” Arians said. “We ain’t going anywhere (in terms of players mingling with the general population). We’re the same as last year. I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain’t going anywhere.”

On Tuesday, kicker Ryan Succop became the first Buccaneers player to land on the COVID list. He tested positive for the coronavirus after going out to dinner with members of the Titans, his former team, after Tennessee held joint practices with the Buccaneers last week before the teams met in a preseason game in Tampa on Saturday.

The Titans subsequently placed multiple players on the COVID list, and coach Mike Vrabel was in quarantine after contracting the virus.

When the Buccaneers head out for their lone road preseason game, a Saturday contest against the Houston Texans, Arians will be imposed extra limitations on his squad. No family members will be among the traveling party, and all players, even those who are vaccinated, will be confined to the team hotel.

“For us, life is not normal,” Arians said. “We’re pretty much under the same protocols — we’re going to be under the same protocols as last year. Because that’s the way it is, especially living here. Tennessee coming in and going out to dinner — they found out the hard way. So did Ryan.

“You can only tell them so much. Once we get to 53 (players) — even this weekend — our guys are going to make a bunch of sacrifices that you have to make now. Families at the hotel, all those things — they’re all out the window.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 10, 2021; Tampa Bay, Florida, USA;   Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate during the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers boat parade to celebrate their victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs celebrate Super Bowl win with rowdy boat parade

Pandemic or not, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated their Super Bowl LV championship in style on Wednesday.

With thousands of fans lining the Hillsborough River near downtown Tampa, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians enjoyed the moment with a beer in one hand and a microphone in the other.

“We have the best coaching staff in the NFL. And we damn sure have the best players in the NFL,” the 68-year-old Arians said. “We’re going to keep the band together.”

The band leader is, of course, quarterback Tom Brady, who followed up his Super Bowl MVP-winning performance in a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday by completing another pass three days later. Brady tossed the Lombardi Trophy from his boat to another, with tight end Cameron Brate making the catch.

“That was the best catch of my life,” Brate said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Unbelievable. That was the best catch of my life. If I had dropped that? I think I would’ve had to retire.”

Retirement doesn’t appear to be on the table for Arians and tight end Rob Gronkowski this time around. Gronkowski, in fact, celebrated on Wednesday with his shirt off and beads around his neck.

On the heels of his record fifth Super Bowl MVP award, the 43-year-old Brady appeared to be a bit tipsy after making it safely back to land. Third-string quarterback Ryan Griffin was seen helping him off the boat.

Brady had a little fun on social media at his own expense.

The Buccaneers can afford to have a little fun after recording their second Super Bowl title in franchise history, even if they could not celebrate in unbridled fashion. Tampa Bay’s mayor Jane Castor had implored attendees on foot to respect social distancing guidelines and asked fans to don masks, rules which appeared to be followed by some, not all.

Of the many private boats and vessels also floating nearby, they were asked to remain at least 50 feet from all boats carrying players and members of the organization.

–Field Level Media

Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) warms up before the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady: Bucs must find Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu before every play

Familiarity with the Kansas City Chiefs’ top defensive playmaker might be an asset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can utilize on Sunday.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians pushed with two hands for the Arizona Cardinals to draft Tyrann Mathieu out of LSU in 2013. The diminutive cornerback was flagged by multiple teams because of off-field issues that included positive drug tests.

Mathieu made his mark on the Chiefs’ win at Tampa in Week 12 this season with an interception and five tackles.

“I saw him pregame warmups last time we played him. My favorite draft choice of all time,” Arians said Wednesday. “I just love him. His passion for football. I am so proud of the man that he has become. He’s a great football player, but he’s a better man.”

Mathieu was released by the Cardinals in 2017 when Arians retired, spent one year with the Houston Texans and then signed with the Chiefs. He smiled when asked about the reunion with Arians this weekend.

“Me and coach BA, we’ve had a great relationship,” Mathieu said. “Ever since my time in Arizona, and even beyond that, he’s always been somebody (whose) opinions and what he says meant a lot to me. You’ve got to remember, he was one of the first people in the National Football League that really believed in me and my abilities, and really allowed me to really flourish at a young age in this league. And he’s still been a guy that I keep in touch with to this day.”

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady identified Mathieu as the player he must find and interpret his intentions prior to every snap in Super Bowl LV.

“Half of it is me being in awe of really just the art, it’s almost like poetry in motion,” Mathieu said. “The other half is me as a defender, like ‘How do I stop this? How do I prepare for this?’”

In past triumphs over Brady, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has used back-end defenders to blitz on occasion but primarily used his back four to cover and front four to rush.

Brady, who threw three interceptions in the NFC Championship game, will be wary of Mathieu.

“I really love him as a player,” Brady said. “I think he’s got great ball-hawking ability. He seems like he’s always coming up with the biggest plays in the biggest moments.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians (L) and quarterback Tom Brady (12) talk prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady, Bruce Arians defying age in Super Bowl run

Bruce Arians and Tom Brady are comfortable being classified as old men this week as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempt to win the second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Arians would become the oldest head coach to win the Lombardi Trophy (68) and Brady (43 years, 188 days old on Super Bowl Sunday) the oldest quarterback to claim the championship.

“It’s not time to look in the rearview mirror yet,” Arians said Monday via Zoom. “We’re still looking ahead. We’ll look back this spring. Hopefully we’ll have a Lombardi Trophy on the way to look at and smile.”

Arians and the Buccaneers are at home for Super Bowl LV, the capper on a season the franchise began plotting the day after the 2019 regular season ended.

“I don’t think I could have ever prepared us for the pandemic,” Arians said. “The accountability of staying healthy, protecting each other. This team is really close at a time when it’s not easy to be close. It reminds be of the Super Bowl XL Steelers.”

Arians said Brady’s intelligence — not his age — has stood out since their contract agreement in March.

“If you don’t have it, you can’t be a great quarterback,” Arians said of Brady’s intelligence. “He’s an intense worker. Unbelievable preparation.”

Brady playing at his age is unique in its own right. But playing on this stage is unprecedented. He said Monday his daily approach, and making only decisions that benefit his career, has been essential to his own vitality.

He’s 18 years, 45 days older than Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as of Sunday, and Brady believes quarterbacks might be able to prolong their career by following his lead.

“Anything is possible. Not many people have played at my age,” Brady said Monday. “I’m hoping that I can give some of that wisdom to some of the younger players who want to do the same type of thing. We’re always supposed to be better as we grow and evolve. It wasn’t about 40 touchdowns it was about, ‘Did I do the best I could do?’ That’s where my motivation comes from.”

“It’s part of my daily life. It’s pretty well documented the approach I’ve taken over a period of time. How I work out, how I recover is very important to me.”

Arians said he’s been “very, very lucky” as a coach to have Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and Brady as pupils. He joked his philosophy is “only take jobs with good quarterbacks.”

After nine Super Bowl appearances and six wins with the New England Patriots, Brady repeated his refrain that playing in the Super Bowl is the goal to start every season.

“Six days to go, one game left. I’m excited to see what we can come up with for Sunday,” Brady said.

Brady shook off hints that he might be done with the NFL this week. When asked if he would consider playing beyond age 45, Brady smiled.

“Yeah, definiltely,” he said, adding he told his dad he would “play until I suck.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2020; Tampa, Florida, United States;Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (28) talks with general manager Jason Licht, owner Joel Glazer and owner Bryan Glazer at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs GM Jason Licht basks in afterglow of turnaround

Long before Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians shared morsels of Tampa Bay’s 2020 vision last February, the end game for the franchise was crystal clear.

Optimistic or outlandish depending on your vantage point, the Buccaneers planned to play for the Super Bowl in their home stadium in February 2021.

And here they stand, NFC Champions prepping to host the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.

“I look back at this time last year compared to where we’re at right now — and we still have unfinished business,” Licht said Wednesday. “Everybody is very focused on this game — I can assure you of that. But, just how far we came in a short amount of time in terms of our record and where we’re at. It’s just a feeling of being grateful for our ownership for giving us the resources that they have to keep this team together, to go out and get Tom [Brady], to trade for Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] and make some other moves during the season when it would have been very easy for owners to pull the reins back a little bit for reasons that go along with being in a pandemic. But, [they] still wanted us to push forward because they desperately want this.”

Last February, Arians opened a choose-your-adventure offseason by revealing he wasn’t committed to quarterback Jameis Winston at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Jump ahead to pandemic times. As the sports world and world in general was slamming the brakes, high fives, hugs and handshakes were impossible to resist at One Buc Place.

The Buccaneers were celebrating in private when Brady penned a public farewell to the Patriots, leaving New England in free agency for a two-year deal in Tampa. About six weeks later, they had Gronkowski under contract and landed a dominant right tackle in Tristan Wirfs plus a starting safety, Antoine Winfield Jr., in the NFL draft.

The slow turn from challenging for the NFC South cellar to playoff — dare they say, Super Bowl — contention was rapidly looking like reality through Licht’s lens.

“You want to make some moves that hopefully get your team into the Super Bowl. I think when you sign a guy like Tom, it makes it a little more realistic,” Licht said. “Just talking to him the days after we signed him, you could just hear and feel the confidence that he had. It made it a little bit more real. Now, you never take anything for granted. We had some highs and lows in the season where things at times looked a little grim. We needed to pull together, but we never lost our confidence. Looking back on some of the things we talked about, you do kind of want to pinch yourselves a little bit saying, ‘Wow, this really did happen.’”

The Buccaneers couldn’t overtake the Saints in the South, but as a wild card won three playoff road games — one in New Orleans — to claim the NFC title. Brady, a 43-year-old quarterback, got them there along with a strong defense and young, talented wide receiver group.

Licht isn’t willing to take much of the credit, deflecting to Arians and the team’s scouting staff. Arians, the team’s call-em-like-you-see-em leader, won over Brady with a combination of tough love and autonomy that only makes sense when viewed in action.

For example, Arians said last week the difference between Brady’s 20 years in New England and this season in Tampa is the Buccaneers got out of his way.

“I allow him to be himself. Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach,” Arians said.

Offensive guard Ali Marpet said Wednesday the chemistry with a younger team is a credit to Arians.

“B.A. has done such a great job for us,” Marpet said, “kind of letting players play their own game and giving guys the opportunity to do what they do that makes them successful.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers WR Godwin expected to return vs. Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin is expected to return from a finger injury and play in Sunday night’s NFC South showdown against the New Orleans Saints.

Godwin fractured his left index finger while catching a touchdown pass against the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 25. He underwent surgery two days later and missed an ensuing game against the New York Giants.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Friday that he was encouraged by what he saw from Godwin in practice.

“We’ll see how sore it is tomorrow. He caught the ball fine, but we’ll see how sore it is,” Arians told reporters. “But I would anticipate him probably playing, just knowing how tough he is and knowing what it all means to him.”

Godwin was a Pro Bowl selection last season when he established career highs of 86 receptions, 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns.

The 24-year-old has been limited to four games this season due to injuries and has 25 catches for 279 yards and two scores. He also missed time due to a concussion and a hamstring injury.

Arians said Godwin will be wearing a brace to make sure there isn’t a setback with the finger injury.

“They’ve got a very nice splint/brace thing worked out that he wore today. But Chris is tough. He’ll be out there,” Arians said. “If there was any jeopardy at all, we would not let him play. He’s been cleared, so we’ll just see how the pain tolerance goes and see how sore he is tomorrow.”

Sunday’s game also marks the first in which seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown is available to play for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay also features three-time Pro Bowl selection Mike Evans at receiver.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers activate Antonio Brown

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated Antonio Brown from the suspended list on Tuesday, one week after signing the controversial star wide receiver.

Brown just completed an eight-game suspension due to multiple violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The discipline prevented him from practicing with his teammates.

Speaking one day after his team’s 25-23 win over the New York Giants, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is looking forward to assimilating Brown into the offense. Tampa Bay (6-2) hosts the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.

“Just being an explosive player with the ball in his hands,” Arians told reporters of how Brown can help. “He’ll have a role and we’ll see how much we can get him taught. … We basically miss a practice this week on Wednesday because of the short week, so it will be a walkthrough practice and basically all learning.”

Brown’s talents have never been in question but his attitude has and that leaves the seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro choice in the position of trying to revive his career.

After an acrimonious split with the Pittsburgh Steelers after nine seasons, he had brief flings with the then-Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots in 2019. He played in one game with New England before being released due to allegations of sexual assault and sending intimidating text messages to an accuser. Those allegations led to an NFL investigation.

Arians said he doesn’t expect any issues.

“He has to handle his own business off the field,” Arians said. “On the field, you find your role, accept it, embrace it, make sure you’re making the right plays and we’ll get you the ball.”

Arians was unsure how much playing time Brown will receive in the NFC showdown against the Saints (5-2).

Brown ranks third among active players in receptions (841) and is fourth in receiving yards (11,263) and touchdown catches (75).

Tampa Bay waived receiver Cyril Grayson in a corresponding move. Grayson had one reception for 3 yards in five games with the Buccaneers over the past two seasons.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) lines up during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Brown makes good impression in first Bucs’ workout

Antonio Brown made a good first impression on Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, who gushed over the wideout’s first workout with the team on Wednesday.

“He looks fantastic. I think we had really good conversations today, he and I,” Arians said Wednesday, the initial day Brown could enter the facility after going through COVID-19 protocols. “He was in the meetings and everything. And he’s working with Anthony Piroli and the strength staff. He looks in great shape. Yeah, ready to go next week.”

Next week would mean the Nov. 8 contest against the New Orleans Saints. Brown, who officially became a member of the team on Monday, is finishing up an eight-game suspension this week due to multiple violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy and he isn’t yet allowed to practice with the team until the disciplinary action is over.

But Arians liked what he heard in his chat with Brown and expects to see him on the field with his teammates soon.

“He and I had a good conversation this morning,” Arians said. “He’ll be ready to go next week and in good shape.”

Brown is trying to revive his career after being a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro choice during nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After an acrimonious split with the Steelers, he had brief flings with the then-Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots in 2019. He played in one game with New England before being released due to allegations of sexual assault and sending intimidating text messages to an accuser. Those allegations led to an NFL investigation.

Brown ranks third among active players in receptions (841) and is fourth in receiving yards (11,263) and touchdown catches (75).

Brown’s production has never been questioned but his attitude has been an issue. Arians, though, isn’t expecting any problems and believes the 32-year-old will follow all the COVID-19 protocols.

“He wants to play. If you want to play, you’ve got to do it,” Arians said. “In our conversation today, it’s ‘Go to football practice, go to work, come home and go back to work.’ He’s all in. I don’t think we’ll have any problems with those things.”

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was teammates with Brown in New England for less than two weeks in 2019 and has pledged his support. He said he has tried to leave a positive impact on Brown.

“I had a lot of people support me over the years, realizing that I was far from where I needed to be and they would guide me and provide me with the help that I needed as a player to reach my potential,” Brady said. “… “You just try your best every day, realizing that a lot of people weren’t born with the same advantages that I’ve had growing up, they weren’t born with the same background or support systems that I had. I think that when you recognize that and bring that to relationships, all you can do is the best you can do.

“For me, I think that’s something I really enjoy still about playing football, is that I probably have more perspective than just about every player in the league right now, based on my years of experience and what I’ve seen. I want to see other guys succeed. And I think a lot of joy in my experience comes from seeing other people be their best and seeing people succeed in ways that can set their family up. I think that’s a really important aspect of football for me.”

Brown’s arrival comes as receiver Chris Godwin will miss Monday’s game against the New York Giants due to a broken left index finger. It currently is unknown if Godwin will be available against New Orleans.

Godwin, 24, has 25 catches for 279 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season. He has missed three others due to a concussion and a hamstring injury.

–Field Level Media