It’s been several years since Bruce Arians “retired” from the Pittsburgh Steelers but the former offensive coordinator, now Arizona Cardinals head coach, still thinks quite a bit of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“He’s like a son to me,” Arians told Macon Telegraph reporter Hayes Rule at the Arians’ Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic charity function at Reynolds Plantation. “The beginning of our relationship, I was the receivers coach, and he said, ‘Coach, you’re not going to yell at me like those receivers?’” Arians said. “I said, ‘Heck no. You’re a quarterback. I don’t have to yell at quarterbacks.’ ”
The relationship between Roethlisberger and Arians had been a source of controversy when both were in Pittsburgh together as many believed they were too close and as a result, the quarterback was given too much free reign. Many have speculated that their close relationship is what led to Arians being forced out by Steelers president Art Rooney II following the 2011 season in which the team posted a 12 – 4 record.
Others, however, believe that their relationship had nothing to do with it and that Arians’ offense was the reason why he was run out of town, as it was detrimental to Roethlisberger’s career because of the sacks and hits he was taking.
Roethlisberger, as you would expect, has stayed in close contact with Arians over the years and the two have said as much during recent interviews.
After leaving Pittsburgh, Arians accepted the offensive coordinator job under then-newly hired Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano. He filled in for Pagano as an interim head coach when he was diagnosed with Leukemia that season and led the Colts to an AFC South division championship with then-rookie quarterback Andrew Luck under center. As a result, he was named the AP Coach of the Year.
Arians was hired by the Cardinals in 2013 and he lead them to a 10-6 record, just missing the playoffs. Last season, Arians led the Cardinals to an 11-5 record and a postseason berth and he did so without having starting quarterback Carson Palmer for much of the season.
Arians’ Cardinals will play the Steelers in Week 6 of the 2015 season.