The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the firing of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and eight other coaches on Thursday, Jan. 19. Leftwich spent four seasons with the Buccaneers’ coaching staff, including during their 2021 Super Bowl win. He also won three division titles with the team.
“We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons,” Head Coach Todd Bowles said in a statement. “As a collective group, we did not meet the high standards that had been set for this past year and my focus now is on doing what is needed to ensure a successful 2023 season. These were very difficult decisions, but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward.”
The announcement came after the Buccaneers lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 31-14, on Monday, Jan. 16, in the NFC’s wild-card round.
According to the team, the other coaches fired include Specialists Coach Chris Boniol, Wide Receivers Coach Kevin Garver, Offensive Quality Control Coach Jeff Kastl, Assistant Defensive Line Coach Lori Locust and Running Backs Coach Todd McNair.
The team added that Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen, Senior Offensive Assistant Rick Christophel and Outside Linebackers Coach Bob Sanders decided to retire.
Leftwich, 43, is an NFL vet who spent 10 years as a player. He retired from the NFL in 2012 and got into coaching in 2016 as an intern with the Arizona Cardinals. He was then hired as the Cardinals’ quarterbacks coach.
He joined the Buccaneers in 2019, following Head Coach Bruce Arians from Arizona to Tampa. Arians praised Leftwich’s coaching in the past.
“I get credit and Brady gets way too much credit for what Byron does with our offense,” Arians told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “One of the reasons I hope he gets all the credit he deserves this year is to get a coaching gig; you know, he had about four or five teams real interested last year. … I would anticipate him to be a head coach real fast.”
One anchor expressed frustration over Leftwich’s firing on Twitter. “So, Leftwich has been the OC for 3 straight division titles. He was the OC when they won the Super Bowl. He was the OC when Brady lead the league in passing last year. So, instead of blaming Brady for playing bad this year, they fire the OC. Brady is never at fault,” @JaronSpor tweeted.
Leftwich interviewed for head coaching positions in 2022 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears. However, he remained in his position with the Buccaneers until his firing on Thursday.
A Washington, DC native, Leftwich is a lifelong footballer. He attended Marshall University and was selected seventh overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He lived up to the hype until he suffered a broken ankle injury during his rookie year.
After recovering, Leftwich still showed promise, but his NFL career was riddled with injuries that derailed him from reaching his full playing potential. As a player, he also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring in 2012.