Arians: 'Hell, yeah' women can coach in the NFL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday that he looks forward the day when his hiring of female football coaches won't be news anymore.

Last week, the Bucs became the first team in NFL history to hire two women, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar, as full-time assistant coaches.

"It's time, and I'll be happy when it's not news anymore. ... That's where it should be heading," said Arians, who was also responsible for hiring the NFL's first female training camp intern, Dr. Jen Welter, with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.

"They're what we need. The fact that their gender's different, who gives a s---?" said Arians, noting that players gravitated toward Welter because of her unique method of teaching.

"I always go back to Dot Murphy at Hinds [Community College] when I was at Mississippi State. She was one of the best receiver coaches I'd ever seen. This was 25 years ago. So my answer [when asked], 'Can they coach?' Hell, yeah. I've seen it. It's just getting opportunities."

Murphy is now the assistant athletic director at Hinds.

"Every NFL player is going to look at you and say, 'How can you make me better?'" Arians said. "If you have an answer, you're in. If you can't answer, then you don't belong there anyway. They can answer the question.

"My best teachers I've ever had -- most of them were female. Football [coaches], we're glorified school teachers. You can know all the football in the world but you can't teach it. So why not take a great teacher of any gender and let 'em help your players? I don't see it as an issue and I'm looking forward to the day when it's not news."

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht told ESPN that Arians approached him the day he was hired about bringing on female staff members.

Licht responded, "Absolutely."

"He said, 'I really want to hire some female coaches. It's something I've really been wanting to do. It's all about opportunity and there are some great females out there that can coach,'" Licht said, pointing out that the Bucs also have a female, Darcie Glazer-Kassewitz, as a co-owner.

Locust, previously with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football League, will serve as assistant defensive line coach. Javadifar, most recently a physical therapist in Seattle, will serve as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Arians has known Locust since his days serving as the head coach at Temple, and she has worked with cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross to put on football camps in Camden, New Jersey. The Buccaneers conducted a search to find Javadifar.

"Bruce is such a rare guy [in] that he's old school in some ways but very progressive in others," Licht said. "With him, it's not about proving a point or push the boundary or whatever --it's about giving opportunities to people that deserve them."

In addition to discussing the hirings, Arians confirmed that the team is working to sign Blaine Gabbert as the backup quarterback. Arians was noncommittal when asked about the status of six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, despite a Tampa Bay Times report suggesting McCoy would return in 2019.

"Probably a better question for Jason because the financials are part of it," Arians said, referring to McCoy's $13 million salary-cap hit and non-guaranteed money. "I've gotta evaluate him. Guys up there in age, it's different. It's usually the age when they're getting paid the most, and production and [pay] don't match. So we've gotta find that out."

He added of McCoy, "He's not as disruptive as he was four years ago, but he's still a good player."

ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.