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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs got assist from Cubs manager Joe Maddon with Bruce Arians hire

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went all out trying to lure 66-year-old Bruce Arians out of his one-year retirement to come coach their team. And as it turns out, the Bucs utilized a prominent baseball manager to help convince Arians that Tampa Bay is a great place to live and to work.

Chicago Cubs manager (and former Tampa Bay Rays boss) Joe Maddon helped recruit Arians to Tampa Bay’s NFL team in a secret private dinner at Maddon’s South Tampa restaurant.

Tampa Bay Times beat writer Rick Stroud had the details:

As Stroud relays Maddon, who still keeps an off-season home in Tampa after he managed the Rays very successfully for nine seasons, had met Arians while the Cubs were training in Arizona about four years ago.

And, the person that brought the two of them together? Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht.

According to Stroud, Maddon and Arians who have a lot alike in terms of coaching in professional sports while into their 60s, became fast acquaintances.

As we wrote last night, Licht was a vital part of helping the Glazer family that owns the Buccaneers convince Arians to come back to the NFL, as a coach. It was Licht’s previous relationship with the former Cardinals coach, while Licht was a Director of Pro Personnel in Arizona, that gave Arians comfort about joining Tampa Bay.

Maddon is still beloved along Baseball fans in the Tampa Bay area after having led the Rays to the 2008 World Series, being a two-time American League manager of the year and engineering the most successful tenure in club history.

As you are probably aware, he went on to lead the Cubs to an historic World Series win in 2016, which was their first championship in 108 years.

Back to Last Friday Night, Stroud reported that Licht and members of the Glazer family were able to sneak into Maddon’s restaurant through a back entrance into a secret private dining room room. There, they began to discuss the possibility with Arians about him becoming the Bucs coach.

That became a reality on Tuesday night when Arians agreed to a four-year deal to return to coaching.

It has also now been confirmed by the NFL and the Buccaneers the Tampa Bay swapped a sixth round pick in April’s Draft to Arizona in exchange for a Cards seventh-round pick from them to let Arians out of the final option year of his contract.

Arians, who is the winningest coach in Cardinals franchise history and led them to the 2015 NFC Championship Game, is now doing some recruiting of his own. And, he is expected to bring most of his former Cardinals staff onboard eventually in Tampa Bay. This would include, his former defensive coordinator and recently fired Jets head coach Todd Bowles joining him.

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