One team that likely won’t be in the running for Antonio Brown this offseason — the Buccaneers.
New Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians spent time in Pittsburgh as offensive coordinator for the Steelers when the wide receiver was a rookie, but isn’t impressed with how far he’s come from a personal standpoint since.
“There’s too much miscommunication, too much … diva,” Arians told The Adam Schefter Podcast. “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.”
Arians claimed Brown is not the same player the Steelers selected in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, saying his work ethic has slipped and his ignorance has grown.
“He was the hardest working,” Arians said. “He and Emmanuel Sanders, boy they went after it because [Steelers head 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.”
However, the Steelers lost to the Packers in the championship game that 2010 season and haven’t been back.
Later Wednesday, Brown responded to Arians’ criticism while also throwing Emmanuel Sanders under the bus.
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 https://t.co/jALXyhQMAw
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) January 16, 2019
It didn’t take long for Sanders to fire back at Brown.
@AB84 😂😂😂😂 you know damn well I didn’t travel to LA to talk about you fam. You trippin yo. I went to be a 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
— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) January 16, 2019
It’s no secret that tensions between Brown and the team, specifically quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, have grown this season in the aftermath of Le’Veon Bell’s ugly contract dispute.
Despite leading the NFL with 15 touchdown receptions this season, Brown sat out the team’s regular-season finale against the Bengals after a reported blowup with Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh missed the playoffs for the first time in five years despite a win over Cincinnati.
Steelers president Art Rooney II — who told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette it’s “hard to envision” Brown being with the team come training camp — released a statement last week insisting the organization is open to every option this offseason except for releasing Brown.