TAMPA, Fla. — New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians seemed to pick his words delicately when assessing the situation with disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
But Brown responded on Wednesday by taking a jab at his former offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.
Speaking on The Adam Schefter Podcast on Tuesday, Arians said, from his view, Brown has changed from the player the Steelers drafted in 2010.
Brown was benched for the Steelers’ final game of the season after he had an altercation with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and reportedly skipped practices that week.
“From afar, it’s just too much miscommunication, too much diva,” Arians said. “I’ve heard so many stories, and I like Antonio. He plays as hard as anyone on Sundays and he practices hard, but you’ve just got to make better decisions off the field, be on time, do some of those little things.”
Arians, a York High graduate, described an NFL rookie who was hungry to make a name for himself, competing with fellow rookie Emmanuel Sanders for snaps among a receiving corps that included Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. The Steelers went to the Super Bowl that season, where they lost to the Packers.
“No, he was the hardest working (guy),” Arians said when asked the difference. “He and Emmanuel Sanders, boy they went after it. Mike Tomlin always used to call them, ‘Two dogs, one bone.’ And at that time, we had Mike Wallace, Hines Ward and we had a pretty good room for one of them to get on the field, and by the end of the season, they were both winning for us to go to the Super Bowl.”
Brown then went to Twitter on Wednesday, indirectly calling Arians a diva:
“He didn’t draft me he drafted @ESanders — 10 same guy who missed rehab to go on networks to talk about me on situation he have zero clue! Arians now wears (Kangol) hats n glasses … but ima diva! Done seen it all then they say we friends stop lien”
"Russian roulette" at QB: Also, Arians also said that this past season “got away” from the Bucs despite their fast start, in part, because of a “Russian roulette wheel” at quarterback.
Arians re-emphasized last week when he was introduced that he’s not a fan of shuffling between two quarterbacks because it creates a mentality where the starter is preoccupied with looking over his shoulder. He’s made it clear that he wants quarterback Jameis Winston, who used to attend Arians’ quarterback camps as a teenager, to know the Bucs are his team.
“I think through better understanding of what we’re trying to do and the realization that you don’t have to throw it through a little window every single time to prove you can, that some of those decisions, that you think you can get it in there, aren’t worth it and you’re hurting the team,” Arians said. “So I just think that the confidence that he knows I have in him, that he’s the man, it’s his team, some of those things will go away.”