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Former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians on CBS gig: ‘I really couldn’t be me’

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians gestures as he is introduced during a news conference Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Bruce Arians couldn’t last through a 12-minute interview without letting one slip.

So you can imagine how difficult it was for the former Arizona Cardinals head coach to reel in his tongue in the broadcast booth for CBS Sports this past season.

That wasn’t the biggest reason why Arians’ retirement lasted just a year. With the perfect coaching staff available around him and a familiarity with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ front office, he found the perfect opportunity to return to the game as head coach of the Bucs.

But, yeah. That CBS gig might not have fit him.

“I was biting my tongue man,” Arians said Tuesday when he joined Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I really couldn’t be me. I got in trouble for saying a guy was wide-(expletive) open one time. That was my first game.

“Each week as I broadcasted games and going to practice every Friday, the fire (to coach) started burning. I think it was like Week 8 or 9 and I’m standing on the sideline and a DB did … I started to coach him. I said, ‘Woah, this isn’t my team, I can’t do that.’ Things had to fall into place for me to do it.”

The 2018 season wasn’t a waste.

Arians visited teams across the NFL, taking tidbits from veteran coaches like the Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid and youngsters such as the Rams’ Sean McVay.

“Andy Reid has obviously, he’s always on the cutting edge, always has been,” Arians said. “A lot of these young guys have some things.

“None of that stuff works unless you have a Patrick Mahomes and a Tyreek Hill. You can do all kinds of (expletive), man.”

Arians remains firm that he was done with coaching when he retired following the 2017 season, leaving the Cardinals after an 8-8 campaign. But as he felt out of place in the booth and began stopping himself from coaching other coaches’ players, the fire started burning.

The year off also helped Arians regain his health.

“They gave me this unbelievable physical,” he said Tuesday. “They said I got a C. That’s like the best news I had in 10 years: I got a C on the physical. Yeah, I mean, Cs were always great for me … you know what I mean?

“When you’ve been an F health-wise for 10 years, a C is great.”

Arizona never contacted Arians about its own head coaching opening, and he never reached out about potentially returning to the desert, he said. The Cardinals were well into their search by the time it became clear to Arians he could leave retirement.

Now with the Bucs, Arians will face his former Arizona team at some point in 2019 — as uncomfortable as it’ll be.

“Those are always the ones I always hope we get through fast, when you have relationships with people,” he said. “It’s never fun but you got to play the game. Hopefully you can win and get over with it quick.”

Arians hosting farewell golf tournament

The Arians Family Foundation will host its sixth annual golf classic at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Ariz., on March 22-23.

The golf event, a dinner and concert will benefit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)

Those wishing to enter the tournament can fill out a form from the Arians Family Foundation website.

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