If the Pittsburgh Steelers do decide to trade wide receiver Antonio Brown during the offseason it’s probably a good bet that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t be the team he’s dealt to even though their new head coach Bruce Arians once coached the player.
During a Tuesday interview on The Adam Schefter Podcast, Arians, who was the Steelers in 2010 when the team drafted Brown, was asked to give his assessment of what he thinks is going on in Pittsburgh between the wide receiver and the organization from afar.
“From afar, just too much miscommunication, too much … diva,” Arians said Tuesday” I’ve heard so many stories — I like Antonio — he plays as hard as anybody on Sunday and he practices hard. He’s just gotta make better decisions off the field, be on time, do some of those little things.”
So, was that the Antonio that Arians knew and drafted back in 2010 when the Steelers selected him in the sixth-round out of Central Michigan?
“No, he was the hardest working,” Arians said. “He and Emmanuel Sanders, boy they went after it because Mike Tomlin used to tell 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. By the end of the season, they were both winning for us to go to the Super Bowl.”
For what it’s worth, Brown probably isn’t very fond of Arians as it is and he pretty much insinuated as much in an Instagram post from last summer that you can see below. In that post, Brown recalls Arians’ initial thoughts about him coming out of college and that he was evidently thought to be just a special teams player that can’t learn plays because he;s not smart enough.
A few days after making that social media post, Bob Labriola attempted to shed a little more light on why Brown still seemingly holds a grudge against Arians during a question and answer segment on steelers.com.
“Brown came off as miffed by something having to do with Arians, and maybe it had to do with the summer of 2010,” Labriola started to explain. “During that summer, Brown was a rookie sixth-round draft pick from Central Michigan trying to make the Steelers roster, the same summer that the team had a rookie third-round pick named Emmanuel Sanders trying to make the roster as well. It didn’t take long even for the civilians watching practice on a daily basis at Saint Vincent College to notice Brown. He didn’t have beep-beep speed like young veteran Mike Wallace, and he wasn’t savvy and crafty like old veteran Hines Ward, but there was something about him when he had the ball in his hands. He looked like a player, and he looked like he wanted it badly.
“During the preseason, Brown tied Sanders for the team lead in receptions with nine, and he led all receivers with two touchdown catches. His 68-yard touchdown tied Wallace that summer for the team’s longest scoring play of the preseason. He also led the team with 80 punt return yards and an 11.4-yard average, and his 24.7-yard average on kickoff returns also was the team’s best that summer. But when it came time to cut the roster, Arians’ opinion was that Brown was nothing more than a practice squad player. That was what Arians advocated, which would have meant waiving Brown first before he could be signed to the practice squad.”
Regardless, it’s easy to see that Arians believes that Brown has turned into a giant, yet talented, diva and one must wonder how many other head coaches around the league see the Steelers wide receiver the same way. While it’s just a guess, I’m willing to speculate that at least a third of the 31 other teams in the NFL will have no desire to trade for Brown because of his divaness. Another third might not need him or being able to afford him, so that probably leaves 10-12 teams that might ultimately be legitimate candidates to trade for Brown this offseason.
Many are starting to believe that the San Francisco 49ers might be one of several reams willing to trade for Brown this offseason. Additionally, Brown has certainly made it sound on social media that he’d be interested in continuing his NFL career in the Bay Area. Some betting establishments have now gone as far as to have the 49ers as the new favorites to land Brown via a trade during the offseason. San Francisco has the second-overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.