Ex-Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians tried to recruit Larry Fitzgerald in 2021

Apr 6, 2022, 2:47 PM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ran into the injury bug in the worst way when star wide receiver Chris Godwin was lost for the remainder of the season and postseason with a torn ACL in Week 15.

From the sounds of it, then-Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians left no stone unturned in finding some sort of replacement for his injured wideout.

Tampa Bay’s new senior football consultant even reached back to his Arizona Cardinals days, kicking the tires on a potential Larry Fitzgerald reunion.

Yes, you read that right.

“I did (try to recruit Fitzgerald to Tampa Bay),” Arians told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Wednesday. “When we lost our guys, especially when Chris Godwin got hurt, I called Fitz.

“He said, ‘Coach, I can only run two plays right now but thanks. I said, ‘I just had to check brother.'”

If the door wasn’t already shut, Arians’ comments slammed it the rest of the way when talking about any sort of return to the football field for the Cardinals’ franchise-leading wide receiver.

As for Arians, who announced his sudden retirement a week ago and handed the reins over to former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the decision to hang it up really boiled down to Tom Brady and his unretiring.

“I was waiting for Tom and see what he was going to do,” Arians said. “Once he decided and he came back, it was a no-brainer (to retire). Todd’s in great shape, the organization’s in a great shape. Probably wouldn’t have done it had Tom not unretired.

“There was always a possibility (Brady could unretire) so we were going to wait until the last minute. We were making plans in case he didn’t, but thank goodness he did.”

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Ex-Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians tried to recruit Larry Fitzgerald in 2021