HEISER: For Bruce Arians, 2016 hits just keep on coming
- York High grad Bruce Arians recently revealed he has a completely torn rotator cuff.
- The Cards' coach said he suffered the injury during a celebratory hug on Christmas Eve.
- The jolting hug was delivered by Larry Fitzgerald, after a Cardinals' victory.
York High graduate Bruce Arians is probably delighted to turn the page on 2016.
There's just one problem, however. It may hurt his shoulder to do just that.
An Arizona Cardinals' team that started with Super Bowl expectations ended up going completely AWOL from the NFL playoffs.
To make matters worse, the 64-year-old Arians suffered through a season of health hell — both for himself and those close to him.
The Cards' head coach was twice sent to the hospital with ailments that were never completely disclosed, once in the preseason and once in the regular season.
That sparked some speculation that Arians may retire after the season — rumors that Arians quickly squashed.
Then came the most recent news this week, which only had to add insult to injury for Arians.
In a story by Dan Bickley in the Arizona Republic, Arians revealed that he has a completely torn rotator cuff.
And get this — the injury occurred when he got a celebratory victory hug from one of his players.
That's right, even during one of the team's rare 2016 wins, Arians ended up losing significant movement in his shoulder.
It was just that kind of season.
After the Cards beat the Seattle Seahawks 34-31, wideout Larry Fitzgerald rushed over to embrace Arians on the sideline. The jolting hit knocked off Arians' glasses and headset — and tore his rotator cuff in the process.
It happened Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas, coach.
“I can still manage a golf swing as long as I keep my elbow down. But the hardest thing is getting the clubs in and out of the bag,” Arians told the Republic.
That injury came just days after Arians' brother-in-law, R. Thomas "Tom" Trimmer died of cancer. Trimmer's death had to be particularly hard for Arians, who is a cancer survivor himself.
Arians and Trimmer grew up in York together and were "very close for a long, long time," Arians said earlier in 2016. They were just a year apart in age and even shared a birthday (Oct. 3).
Trimmer was the husband of Christine Arians’ youngest sister. Christine Arians, also from York, is Bruce Arians' wife.
Still optimistic: Despite all of that, Arians plans to be in Houston for the Super Bowl. It's a game he had hoped his Cards would be playing in, especially after a stellar 2015 season that ended with a 13-3 regular-season record, an NFC West title and an appearance in the conference championship game.
Instead, the 2016 Cards went 7-8-1 and Arians will be a mere spectator in Houston, watching the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Despite the frustrations, disappointments and tragedies of the past six months, Arians remains optimistic about 2017.
The Cardinals' future success, however, may hinge on Arians' ability to convince two of his veteran standouts to return for at least one more season — Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer.
If those players opt to return — and most experts believe they will — Arians' job should be a whole lot easier.
“I think the core is here and there is no doubt that we had high expectations coming into this year with the roster we had,” Arians said after the season. “Those expectations will never change."
The expectations may not change, but Arians must surely hope the results will change, from both a personal and professional viewpoint.
The veteran coach certainly doesn't want to endure another season like 2016.
His psyche, and his body, probably couldn't take it.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.