Bruce Arians has retired as coach of the Arizona Cardinals. A national report surfaced Sunday Arians would step down as head coach. Today, Arians made it official.
"I'll miss the players," he said, fighting back tears. "I'll miss coming out of the locker room and hearing the national anthem because it still gets me. But somehow, some way, I'm gonna be in touch with the game. I'm not leaving the Valley."
"The tears you see are really tears of joy and peace," he said.
[READ: Arians' entire statment]
"I've never seen him like this," Arizona Family sports reporter Mark McClune said. "He started his opening remarks; he couldn't even get through them. He started breaking down."
In five years with Arizona, Arians posted a record of 50-30-1 with two playoff appearances. Fifty wins total between regular season and playoffs. That's a franchise record.
"He leaves the game today as the winningest coach in Cardinals history -- both total wins and regular season wins," team president Michael Bidwill said shortly after an emotional Arians made his announcement. "It's been an incredible journey. ... We're gonna miss him. we're gonna miss him a lot."
[ARIANS' LAST GAME: Dawson kicks Cardinals past Seahawks 26-24]
"We built this program on three words -- trust, loyalty and respect," Arians said.
He coached Arizona to winning records in each of his first three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances in 2014 and 2015, including an NFC Championship appearance.
The Cardinals have missed the playoffs the last two years after suffering injuries to key players, including Carson Palmer, David Johnson and Tyrann Mathieu.There are so many reasons for the decision, but family is the one.Bidwill said Arians informed him of his decision Sunday.
"I probably didn't truly know 'til that kick went through that I was going to retire," Arians said.
"It's been a great working relationship between Steve and BA and me," Bidwill said. "He leaves the team in a very good position."
"It's kinda hard not to be choked up," Steve Keim, the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals said. "I don't think there's any doubt it's going to be hard to replicate the kind of relationship we all had with Bruce and how special he was to us. ... There's no doubt that he'll always hold a special place in my heart."
The 65-year-old Arians has suffered multiple health issues in his time with Arizona. He was hospitalized in August 2016 with symptoms of diverticulitis and had surgery in February to remove a cancerous piece of his kidney.
Questions regarding Arians' health led to speculation in recent months about his future with the team. Arians came out on numerous occasions and stated he wanted to stay with the Cardinals. Back in July, Arians said he wanted to finish out his contract, which ran through 2018 with a team option for 2019.
[RELATED: Arians squashes retirement rumors]
"I wanted to respect his decision and not try to put any pressure on him to come back, especially with some of the health issues and things like that that he's had over the years," Bidwill said. "Steve and I, you know, we love him and we want to see him have a great retirement, too, and we know he's left the organization in a great place .... [He's] just done tremendous things for this organization. ... We want to see him be happy and healthy."
Arians paid his dues to become a head coach in the NFL. He was a longtime offensive coordinator before he was hired by the Cardinals in 2013. Arians is known for being a quarterback genius.
He worked with Payton Manning and Andrew Luck with the Colts and Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. Arians' philosophy is to throw the ball downfield. He is fearless; his “risk it, no biscuit” motto became synonymous with his attacking style.
When Colts Coach Chuck Pagano took time away to undergo cancer treatment in 2012, Arians became interim coach and led the Colts to a 9-3 record. A great run as Arians was named the Associated Press’ Coach of the Year. It was an honor he earned again with the Cardinals.
[LOOKING BACK: Cards under new leadership with Arians as coach (July 23, 2013)]
[FROM THE ARCHIVES: Arizona Cardinals hire Bruce Arians as next head coach (Jan. 17, 2013)]
[MORE: Arizona Cardinals stories][W]e want to see him have a great retirement, too, and we know he's left the organization in a great place.Heavily involved in the Arizona Community, the Arians Family Foundation has helped support and develop programs that strive to prevent the abuse and neglect of children.
"I'm very proud of our foundation and the work we're doing to help the children in this Valley," he said. "That will never stop. ... The kids that we have helped in this Valley in the last five years mean way more to me than wins and losses."
Arians is a highly respected coach and person.
"The impact he's had has been very real in the community and we couldn't be more grateful to him and to his family for everything that they've done," Bidwill said.
"There are so many reasons for the decision, but family is the one," Arians said.
The all-time winningest coach in Arizona history will be missed.
Bidwill and Keim said they would begin looking for a new head coach immediately.
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