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Art Rooney II on Bruce Arians: “It was time for a change”

Art Rooney II

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, arrives for negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Although the official company line on the departure of Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is that he retired, it’s been widely reported that he was actually forced out by Steelers owner Art Rooney II. In an interview on the team’s web site, Rooney declined to get into specifics, but didn’t deny that he’s the reason Arians is out.

And Rooney confirmed that he believes it was time for the Steelers to make a change offensively, and that he’s glad to see head coach Mike Tomlin working on hiring a new coordinator.

“Bruce did a good job for us and we appreciate everything he’s done,” Rooney said. “I think the questions of how we got here are not really relevant. I think the key now is Mike has begun the search for our next offensive coordinator and I think he’ll do a good job finding the right person. We’ll go through the process and interview the right candidates. But we’re looking to improve on offense and have somebody possibly to be in place for a number of years. Bruce had talked about retirement for a few years now, so I think it was time for a change, and we’re looking forward to moving on.”

Those comments do nothing to dispel the talk that Arian’s departure was Rooney’s call. Rooney may think the questions about how this came about are irrelevant, but if Arians is right that Ben Roethlisberger is unhappy, Rooney may find himself getting questioned by his quarterback.