Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians Tests Positive for COVID-19; Harold Goodwin Takes Over

Erin WalshDecember 28, 2021

TAMPA, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 22: Head Coach Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during warm ups before the game against the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium on November 22, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Tuesday. Assistant head coach Harold Goodwin will take over until he returns. 

"I tested positive for COVID-19 this morning but have only experienced mild symptoms to this point," Arians said. "Harold Goodwin will take over my duties during my absence. I have complete confidence in him and the rest of our coaching staff to prepare the team for this week's game against the Jets. I look forward to rejoining the team and being back in the facility as soon as I can test back in."

The news came after the Buccaneers placed wide receiver Mike Evans, cornerback Jamel Dean, wide receiver Jaelon Darden, defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting on the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Like most professional sports leagues across the globe, the NFL has been dealing with a rise in COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks. About 475 players have tested positive since the week of Dec. 13 began, per ESPN's Kevin Seifert

The NFL and NFL Players Association are reportedly close to an agreement to set the isolation time at five days for players who test positive for COVID-19, which is in line with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday. 

The league and NFLPA have already changed testing procedures, eliminating testing for vaccinated players unless they show symptoms. 

Arians could clear protocols in time to return to the sideline for for Sunday's game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium since he is vaccinated. 

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who also is vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 22 and cleared protocols in time for Sunday's victory over the New York Giants. 

Even if Arians doesn't clear protocols, Tampa is in good hands. It's already clinched the NFC South and a spot in the postseason. Now the Bucs are fighting for positioning in the NFC, and it's a good bet they'll beat the 4-11 Jets.