Bruce Arians hasn’t shared a locker room with Antonio Brown in nearly a decade, but he apparently isn’t liking what he sees from his former receiver recently.
Arians, the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, served as the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2011, a span of time including Brown’s first two years in the league. He shared his impression of the receiver’s latest behavior on ESPN’s Adam Schefter Podcast Show, going so far as to label Brown a “diva.”
How Bruce Arians views Antonio Brown and the Steelers
“There’s too much miscommunication, too much … diva,” Arians said Tuesday on The Adam Schefter Podcast. “I’ve heard so many stories — I like Antonio — he plays as hard as anybody on Sunday, and he practices hard. He’s just gotta make better decisions off the field, be on time, do some of those little things.”
How Bruce Arians remembers Antonio Brown
Obviously, it has been a while since Arians has worked with Brown in any capacity. Since Arians left the Steelers, he has retired from coaching, become offensive coordinator and interim head coach with the Indianapolis Colts, become head coach with the Arizona Cardinals, retired from coaching a second time and returned to coach the Bucs.
Still, Arians seems to remember his time with Brown fondly. The Central Michigan product was fairly quiet on the field during his rookie year with Arians, posting only 167 receiving yards and no touchdowns, but then emerged as a legitimate weapon the next year with 1,108 yards. That ascent was evidently fueled by an impressive level of effort:
Arians told Schefter that the Brown he’s seeing today is not who he saw when the team drafted the wide receiver in 2010.
“He was the hardest working,” Arians said. “He and Emmanuel Sanders, boy they went after it because [Steelers head coach] Mike Tomlin used to tell them, ‘Two dogs, one bone.’ And at that time, we had Mike Wallace, Hines Ward — I mean, we had a pretty good run for one of them to get on the field. By the end of the season, they were both winning for us to go to the Super Bowl.”
Where Antonio Brown and the Steelers stand
Brown and the Steelers are currently in the awkward position of feeling out the star’s trade market after he caused the Steelers’ locker room to be hit with even more drama than usual at the end of the season. Brown skipped meetings before a do-or-die season finale, which resulted in his benching, and had a midweek dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during practice.
Brown has since been in a standoff with the team, to the point that owner Art Rooney II said it was “hard to envision” Brown wearing a Steelers uniform next season. Brown seemingly agreed, scrubbing any mention of the Steelers from his Twitter profile.
Where Brown ends up is still in question. Despite those off-field issues, the 30-year-old is still a massive talent that has posted at least 100 catches, 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns every season since 2013. The market figures to be large for such a player, though it’s probably safe to say the Bucs won’t be making a move anytime soon.
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