Bruce Arians is one man who won’t keep his feelings bottled up. So when the Pittsburgh Steelers unceremoniously announced his “retirement,” aka, we’re not bringing you back, there was a predictable rift built between him and the team.
But time heals all wounds and now, he seems to be back on good terms with the Steelers. Promoting his new book while speaking with Ron Cook and Andrew Fillipponi on 93.7 The Fan, Arians said he’s back to being good friends with Mike Tomlin.
“Mike and I are great friends again and I can’t say it enough that I love the Rooney’s and I love the Steelers organization for what they did for me,” he told the show.
Arians did say the relationship “went south” after the Steelers dismissed him following the 2011 season. What was coined a retirement, he quickly got back into coaching. He served as the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator, molding Andrew Luck, and becoming their interim head coach while Chuck Pagano fought and beat cancer. That parlayed itself into the Arizona Cardinals’ head coaching gig, where he’s lead them to the playoffs twice already.
While Arians is a strong offensive mind and his candor refreshing in a generally tight-lipped league, he was criticized for having too close a relationship with Ben Roethlisberger, not letting his quarterback grow and evolve the way he needed to with age. That’s what Todd Haley has been able to accomplish, changing the way Roethlisberger plays. A completely revamped offensive line doesn’t hurt, either.
Arians touched on that close relationship with Big Ben, calling him a “second son,” and saying he and Ben sat down to rewrite the playbook to what Roethlisberger was most comfortable doing. That’s usually the smart thing to do, every offense should have its system tailored to their QB, but in this case, it may have been more about what Ben wanted to do as opposed to what was best for him and the offense as a whole.