SportsPulse: Despite their season being over, the Steelers remain in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell explains why the end may be near for Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh.
New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday that he sees “too much diva” in Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Speaking on a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Arians said he hasn’t liked what he’s heard out of Pittsburgh regarding Brown.
“From afar, there’s too much miscommunication, too much … diva,” Arians told ESPN. “I’ve heard so many stories — and I like Antonio, he plays as hard as anybody on Sunday, and he practices hard. He’s just got to make better decisions off the field, be on time, do some of those little things.”
It’s not the first time the Steelers wide receiver or the coach have shared their opinion on the other.
In July, Brown called out Arians in an Instagram post with this text: “Bruce Arians said he’s a special team guy he caint learn the plays hots n sites. Not Smart Enough Coach T Bench me on a bye week ; said two dogs one bone. God bless em #putsomerestpectonmyname”
The translation of that post?
We think Brown is saying that Arians didn’t think Brown was smart enough to be anything more than a return man. We’re not exactly sure what he meant about Mike Tomlin (Coach T) in the post, but he apparently wanted the Steelers coach to “put some respect on his name.”
Brown’s future in Pittsburgh has been in doubt following his actions at the end of the season, which included missing the team’s final regular-season game after skipping practices and other team functions. Last week, owner Art Rooney II told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette it is “hard to envision” Brown still with the team at the start of training camp.
Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro honoree, caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2018.
Arians added on the podcast that Brown is not acting like the player the Steelers drafted in 2010, when Arians was the team’s offensive coordinator.
“He was the hardest working,” Arians said. “He and Emmanuel Sanders, boy they went after it because [Steelers 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.”
Brown responded on Twitter to Arians’ podcast comments on Tuesday
He tweeted: “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 kangoo hats n glasses but ima diva! Done seen it all then they say we friends stop lien.”
NFL pundits have speculated about Brown’s future with the Steelers and have listed the Cardinals, Bruce Arians’ previous team, as a potential trade partner with Pittsburgh for Brown.
Some NFL odds list Arizona as the fourth most-likely trade destination for the wide receiver.
Arians’ new team, the Buccaneers, are not listed.
Brown’s feud with Emmanuel Sanders
Brown’s tweet was also a response to former teammate Emmanuel Sanders.
In an appearance this weekend on NFL Network’s ‘NFL GameDay Morning” show, Sanders was asked about Brown’s situation in Pittsburgh. Sanders, who played for the Steelers for four seasons, didn’t hold back in his criticisms of Brown.
“It all sounds familiar,” Sanders said on the show. “But one thing I will say, when Art Rooney came out and said that, it’s pretty much he’s gone, because being around the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, Art Rooney doesn’t say too much, but when he says something, he means it. This situation has really, really got out of hand. It’s crazy, because I don’t like to see, but I feel like Antonio brought it on himself.
“You cannot turn your back on your brothers, not on the Pittsburgh Steelers organization that gave you an opportunity to make you who you are in terms of Antonio Brown the football player. And so for you to leave on a Wednesday and then have your agent call on a Sunday is the ultimate disrespect to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.”
A few minutes after Brown’s tweet, Sanders – who tore his Achilles tendon in December – responded with his own.
“@AB84 you know damn well I didn’t travel to LA to talk about you fam.” Sanders posted from his verified account. “You trippin yo. I went to be a (sic) analyst in which you acting foolish was the topic and I gave my analytical opinion. Get off the gas yo. You did it to yourself”
USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Schad, Steven Ruiz and Lorenzo Reyes contributed to this story.