Buckner joins the Buccaneers after having spent the past five seasons working as the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17). During that timeframe, the Cardinals have recorded 203 sacks, tied for the seventh-most in the NFL. In 2016, Arizona led the NFL with 48 sacks, the third-highest single-season mark in franchise history. That team was led by defensive tackle Calais Campbell, who paced the squad with 8.0 sacks. Campbell made two Pro Bowls (2014-15) under Buckner’s guidance.
“Brentson enjoyed a very good career as a player in this league and more recently as a successful coach with the Cardinals,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter. “Over the years, one of the areas that really stood out to me was Brentson’s ability to get the best out of all his players. He’s worked with some highly rated players who have achieved great success under his coaching, but what is most impressive to me has been his ability to consistently develop some lesser known players into very productive contributors on a top defensive line unit.”
In Buckner’s five seasons with the Cardinals, the team ranked second in rushing yards allowed per game (93.8), third in yards allowed (324.7), fourth in rushing average allowed (3.81), sixth in points allowed per game (20.7) and eighth in passing yards allowed per game (230.9). Arizona’s defense ranked in the top six of the NFL in yards allowed per game in four of Buckner’s five seasons with the team, while ranking in the top seven in points allowed per game in three seasons with Buckner on staff.
A native of Columbus, Georgia, Buckner played collegiately at Clemson, where he finished as the Tigers’ third all-time leader in sacks. He was a second-round pick (50th overall) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1994 NFL Draft. Buckner played 174 career games, with 127 starts in his 12-year career, spending time with Pittsburgh (1994-96), Cincinnati (1997), San Francisco (1998-2000) and Carolina (2001-05). He played in Super Bowl XXX with Pittsburgh and Super Bowl XXXVIII with Carolina.
Buckner began his coaching career working as the defensive coordinator at Victory Christian Academy in Charlotte (2007), before becoming the head coach at Northside Christian Academy (2008-09), also in Charlotte. He worked as a training camp intern with the Steelers for three seasons (2010-12) prior to joining the Cardinals staff.