Bruce Arians is officially out as offensive coordinator. Head coach Mike Tomlin released a statement today indicating that Arians is retiring.
“Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching, ” Tomlin said in a released statement. “I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”
The search for a new offensive coordinator will begin immediately as the Steelers coaching staff is heading to Mobile, Alabama for senior bowl week. Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is the leading in-house candidate to replace Arians but the Steelers have other candidates in mind.
Many pundits are likely to raise a lot of doubts whether this is an actual retirement. Long-time Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette was among those raising those type of doubts this morning, prior to the announcement. “If it happens over the weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar it was a firing, not a retirement, ” Bouchette said, pointing out that no one will be around in the coming days. “A firing of that nature deserves someone to stand up and take credit for it and explain it. A true retirement should have allowed for a parting press conference by the retiree, ” Bouchette wrote.
Arians and his wife are traveling next week to the Pro Bowl as a guest of Ben Roethlisberger’s. Right now there has been no indication that a press conference will be held for Arians.
Arians had told multiple people in the past couple weeks that he intended to return in 2012 but he did not have a contract for 2012. Arians has been the Steelers offensive coordinator since the 2007 season, the year Mike Tomlin was hired.