Bruce Arians Already Hates Antonio Brown

Bruce Arians Already Hates Antonio Brown

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and wide receiver Antonio Brown have had a long and storied history. The pair initially spent some time together with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and neither emerged from the experience particularly fond of the other.

Before the 2020 NFL season commenced, Arians was asked if he would consider adding Brown to his roster. The 68-year-old expressed extremely vocal opposition to the idea, pointing out that their mutual experience wasn’t full of good memories.

“Yeah, it’s not gonna happen,” Arians said back in March. “There’s no room. And probably not enough money. But it’s not gonna happen — it’s not a fit here.”

In separate conversations, Arians said that “I just know him, and — it’s not a fit in our locker room” and that Brown was “too much of a diva” to be a member of his team.

Of course, all that changed a few weeks back when the Buccaneers suffered some key injuries. At that point, Arians went back on everything he had previously said and agreed to sign Brown.

“We were real healthy a couple of months ago, and the injuries we’ve gone through with our receiver corps, we just needed some insurance,” Arians explained. “And when you’re losing Pro Bowl players, very seldom can you ever replace them with one, and somebody that I think’s gonna buy in and adapt to what we wanna do. So we pulled the trigger.”

This past week, Brown suited up for his first outing with the Bucs. He ended up recording 31 yards and 0 touchdowns on three receptions, as the team fell to the New Orleans Saints 38-3.

After the fact, Arians seemed to indicate that he wasn’t particularly happy with how Brown was used in the offense.

“His pitch count was a little higher than we anticipated,” Arians said on Tuesday, referring to the fact that the 32-year-old wide receiver was a part of 39 snaps.

“But we tried to go two-minute early in the ballgame just to get some life, so his pitch count was up a little bit.”

Pointing to Brown’s usage rate at this juncture is an odd move. The team had plenty of issues against New Orleans, and including Brown too much in the offense was definitely not at the top of the list.

More than anything else, this feels like part of a continued tug of war with quarterback Tom Brady regarding the offense and how Brown fits into it. First Arians just straight up didn’t want him. Then he agreed to add him, but with limits. And now it seems like the Buccaneers head coach is reinforcing those boundaries and hoping that they will stick.

Tampa Bay has an interesting couple of weeks ahead. First comes a showdown against a very spunky Los Angeles Rams squad, and then a battle with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. How this group performs in those two outings will tell us a lot about where they’re going from here.

Related: Suns, Clippers, Mavericks, Thunder Working On 4-Team Trade?

Carlos Garcia

A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.

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