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Bruce Arians thought Mike Tomlin was calling to give him a raise

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The humorous level of self-importance carried around by ex-Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, fails to surprise anymore, but it's always high on entertainment value. Whether he actually felt he deserved a raise after the 2011 season remains to be seen, but it’s a good line anyway.

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Few have divided Steelers Nation as much as ex-offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The less success the Steelers current offense has, the louder calls ring questioning why Arians was released in the first place.

It came following a turbulent 2011 season in which the Steelers beat mostly bad teams, rarely beat even decent ones and became victims of overtime heroics from Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs.

Speculation surrounding why Arians was released - the team initially labeled it a "retirement" - will likely swirl around for decades, considering the Steelers haven't advanced to the postseason since.

Love Bruce Arians or hate him, one thing any fan would (or should) agree with is his self-confidence.

ESPN writer Tim Keown penned an excellent piece recently highlighting the Cardinals coach and his self-described "shocking" termination/non-renewal of contract.

"I thought (Steelers coach Mike Tomlin) was calling to give me a raise," Keown quoted Arians as saying, describing the phone call he received advising him he wouldn't be back in 2012.

It's hard to determine whether he's being serious or not. And that's very Arians.

He has had a good deal of success since leaving Pittsburgh and, in that, he should be happy it happened. He took a fractured Colts team with a rookie quarterback to a Coach of the Year award. He parlayed that into a head-coaching job in Arizona, where he's already having a good amount of success.

ESPN never asked him to submit to an interview for a feature story when he was leading the Steelers to 24 points per game. No one was knocking down his door for coaching positions either and, contrary to the revisionist historians in the 'Nation (a.k.a. Anti-Haley supporters), Arians offense wasn't particularly inspiring either. Up to this season, there was only a marginal difference between Arians' overall production in Pittsburgh and Haley's. Both could be described as fairly vanilla overall.

Arians appears to be relishing the spotlight, as he should, considering the resentment he clearly feels given all that happened. Many fairly contended Arians shouldn't have been considered the scapegoat for the Steelers' woes at the end of that season - Ben Roethlisberger was injured during the final few games, and the offense clearly suffered because of it. The team's running game had been revived in 2010 only to fall into a more vertical-passing mode in 2011.

Whether the team's direction should be based on running the football is a different argument, but it's one in which the point of the team wanting to go in a different direction is valid. Perhaps they read the writing on the wall, that deep passing costs a lot of money and risks the health of the team's greatest asset; its starting quarterback.

This isn't and shouldn't be considered a comparison of one to the other. Different times, different circumstances. The end of Bruce Arians' time in Pittsburgh looks sort of how it looks now; inconsistent production, a lack of identity and miserable in the red zone.

Arians thought he was getting a raise? He was, in a way. He just had to leave town and earn it first.