If you look back now on the broken relationship between former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and wide receiver Antonio Brown, you would think it was bad from the get-go. But according to Arians, his relationship with Brown didn’t start out that way.

Brown came to Bucs in 2020 after serving a suspension. The first year he was there, things appear to be well, according to Arians, who complimented Brown on his work ethic.

“Great player. Great player,” Arians said recently on “The Cook and Joe Show.” “Practices hard and plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever coached .”

“He was a big part of us getting that [Super Bowl] ring,” he said. “The next season obviously didn’t work out as well, but he was a big, big part of us winning a championship.”

Saying things “didn’t work out as well” is an understatement as the Bucs cut Brown following an incident in which he left the field mid-game. Brown would go on to accuse Arians of pressuring him to play while injured. Brown has still not provided proof that he was actually injured when he left the field that day.

Arians believe that Brown becoming a superstar may be the reason his attitude changed.

“I wasn’t there when he got his stardom, but watching him on film it was just absolutely unbelievable the rapport he and Ben (Rothlisberger) had together,” Arians said. “But some guys handle it differently than others. I can speak of when he was with us, it was going great and then he was fighting through some stuff and it just didn’t work out in the end.”

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