When Bruce Arians retired as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, both he and the franchise thought he was done. Now, as the leader of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arians welcomes his old franchise into his new house to face his new franchise.
Both sides have been talking about each other leading up to the weekend, as they always do. But this time it’s a bit different for some on the Cardinals’ roster. For some of Arians’ former players, it’s a time to talk about the upcoming match-up and the relationship that was.
The Arizona Cardinals’ team site shared some of the comments, and as expected, they’re all very complimentary of the two-time NFL Head Coach of the Year.
Wide Receiver, Larry Fitzgerald
“The time we spent off the field, of course, speaking his mind, getting to know him as a man. I really appreciated the knowledge he imparted on me. He helped me a great deal. He solidified my career on the back end. I will always be in debt to him.”
Running Back, David Johnson
“When I thought I did something well, had a good game, he was the one, ‘Well, you missed a couple blocks, you dropped a ball,’” Johnson said. “That’s my memory of B.A. He’s never satisfied, and he’d let you know.”
Safety, Budda Baker
“My rookie year, he was like, ‘If you are walking down the street and see a pit bull, are you gonna stretch first and then run, or just take off? We started laughing He said, ‘That’s why we don’t stretch.’”
Cornerback, Patrick Peterson
“He made us better, man. When you have a coach like that who knows how to push certain buttons and know how to get the best out of his players, you’ve got something special.”
Of course, Arians isn’t the only one facing his former team. As the same article on azcardinals.com pointed out as well, there are four former Cardinals players and twelve more coaches who used to work for the franchise.
A.Q. Shipley, another one of Arians’ former players passed on a common thought about the upcoming match, saying,
“(Against) former teams, former coaches, I’m sure there is a little more added motivation, a little more juice.”
Emotions will be running high for some of the players and coaches involved, and Arians’ current team will be looking to recapture the feeling of success that his former players know very well.
With all of the history and emotion leading into this weekend’s game, you can bet it’ll be business as usual between the lines, with each team pulling no punches despite the good will being passed between them.