Bruce Arians raves about Antonio Brown after first Bucs workout


Bruce Arians has apparently changed his tune on Antonio Brown.

Tampa Bay's head coach was singing Brown's praises after his first day as a Bucs employee on Wednesday -- this after Arians flatly dismissed the idea of signing the troubled wide receiver only months prior.

Arians on Wednesday told reporters that Brown looked "fantastic" in his first day of work at team facilities.

"He looks fantastic. I think we had really good conversations today, he and I," Arians said. "He was in the meetings and everything. And he's working with Anthony Piroli and the strength staff. He looks in great shape. Yeah, ready to go next week."

Brown wasn't permitted to practice fully with his teammates per the terms of his eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the league's conduct policy. He was on track to participate in full next week, Arians said.

Arians was a bit vague about what exactly he discussed with Brown, but he suggested there was a clearing of the air and an understanding about the expectations for Brown's behavior.

"It went real well. He and I had a good conversation this morning," Arians said. "He'll be ready to go next week and in good shape.

"He wants to play. If you want to play, you've got to do it," Arians said. "In our conversation today, it's, 'Go to football practice, go to work, come home and go back to work.' He's all in. I don't think we'll have any problems with those things."

Arians in March shot down reports that the Bucs might be interested in signing Brown -- reportedly at the behest of QB Tom Brady -- saying there was "no room" for Brown on the team, and that he didn't "fit" in the Tampa locker room.

But Brown signed with Tampa last week -- sixth months after Arians' comments -- marking reunions, of sorts, with both Arians as well as Brady. Brown broke into the league with the Steelers while Arians was on the offensive staff there, and played briefly with Brady last year on the Patriots before his abrupt exit.

Brown had remained unsigned since his release by the Pats, before the Bucs snapped him up.

The Bucs' signing of Brown coincided with an injury setback for star wideout Chris Godwin, who suffered a finger injury that required surgery.

Arians on Wednesday acknowledged Brown was signed in part as a hedge against the possibility that Godwin misses more than a game or two.

“I think it’s very optimistic that he’ll be back in a week, but it could be possible," Arians said. "We don’t know, really, how long. Again, that’s why we have the insurance policy.”

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