Bucs HC Arians Saw Antonio Brown 'Trying to Be a Better Human Being' After Super Bowl

Adam WellsDecember 27, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians believes Antonio Brown is putting in the work to improve as a person.

Speaking to Peter King of NBC Sports, Arians said he's seen a change in the Bucs wide receiver since joining the team in the middle of last season:

"When he came back to us, he was a model citizen. There was a new history. I really loved the way he tried to fit in, worked his way in and gave us everything he had to go to the Super Bowl. My whole attitude on him changed. I saw him trying to be a better human being. So I’ve got a totally different relationship than when it was when you and I talked last year."

Brown and Arians previously worked together with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Arians was the team's offensive coordinator for Brown's first two seasons in the NFL from 2010 to 2011.

Arians said the following during an appearance on The Adam Schefter Podcast in January 2019 (h/t ESPN): "There's too much miscommunication, too much ... diva. 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."

Brown was out of the NFL for more than one year after being released by the New England Patriots on Sept. 20, 2019. 

Four days prior to Brown's release, Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko published a story detailing sexual assault accusations against him.

A woman told Klemko that Brown sent her intimidating text messages after he made an unwanted sexual advance toward her in 2017.

The same woman told Klemko she had been hired by Brown to paint a mural in his house. As she was working, Brown got "behind her, naked, holding a small hand towel over his genitals."

Before those accusations became public, Brown's former trainer, Britney Taylor, accused him of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions between 2017 and 2018 in a civil lawsuit filed in Florida. 

Brown and Taylor reached a settlement agreement in April 2021.

The NFL suspended Brown for the first eight games of the 2020 regular season for multiple violations of the league's personal conduct policy.

Brown was also suspended for three games by the league on Dec. 2 for violating the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols after it was discovered he misrepresented his vaccination status. 

Tampa Bay signed Brown to a one-year deal on Oct. 27, 2020. The seven-time Pro Bowler made his season debut in Week 9 against the New Orleans Saints.

Brown returned to the Bucs after signing another one-year deal in April as a free agent. He has only appeared in six games this season but ranks fourth on the team with 519 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions.