It’s been quite a weekend for former NFL offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger.
The former New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers lineman has been a sports talk show host in San Diego for several years, but if you didn’t know who he was before Friday, you might have heard about him since.
Ohrnberger, who played with Tom Brady in the Patriots organization a decade ago, took to Twitter on Friday and set the NFL world ablaze with a series of tweets on a pair of hot-button topics.
The one that got everyone’s attention, and firmly planted a fresh egg on Ohrnberger’s face, was a since-deleted tweet that claimed Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had told his Tik Tok famous brother and future sister-in-law that their antics made them no longer welcome at Chiefs games.
That tweet was immediately debunked, with Mahomes himself weighing in. Ohrnberger apologized Friday night and deleted the offending tweet.
But his other Friday tweets remained, and they reverberated all the way across the country to Tampa, via Birmingham.
A mighty missive from San Diego creates uproar over the Brady-Arians relationship
Ohrnberger’s tweet about Mahomes was actually a throwaway line after a pair of tweets that comprised his main point: That Tom Brady retired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a deteriorated relationship with head coach Bruce Arians.
“Heard some interesting things recently,” Ohrnberger’s tweet began. “The Tom Brady & Bruce Arians honeymoon was over in Tampa. The retirement announcement wasn’t because of the trouble seeing eye to eye on the offensive game planning, but the relationship was souring.”
Then, a follow-up:
“Apparently, while Arians was rehabbing the achilles in the early mornings, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Brady would work on the week’s game plan. Arians would later come in and take the red pen to work they’d done. The QB and OC felt undermined, there was tension.”
So, while the Twitterverse dunked on Ohrnberger for the erroneous Mahomes tweet, word of the Brady tweets made their way back to Arians. The response came Saturday, and a furious Arians did not hold anything back.
Arians fires back with profane rebuttal, but Ohrnberger isn’t backing down
Rick Stroud has been covering the Buccaneers for the Tampa Bay Times since 1990. He’s seen things. But even Stroud had to have been taken aback by this scoop coming from far-away San Diego.
So, like any good reporter, and especially one with such deep roots with the organization, Stroud called Arians, who was in Birmingham, AL, for a grandchild’s birthday party.
Well, get out the ear muffs, kids, because coach Arians had some things to say.
In a story published Saturday on the Tampa Bay Times’ website, Stroud let Arians respond to Ohrnberger’s Friday tweet-storm, which comes amidst a swirl of speculation that Brady will un-retire before the start of the 2022 season.
“It seems like there’s one [story] every day now,’’ Arians said. “Everybody is speculating he’s going somewhere else. That don’t bother me. This other bull—-, the relationship thing, that’s so far-fetched. I mean, that’s such bull—-. That’s what pisses me off.’’
Arians then denied the specific details contained in Ohrnberger’s tweets.
“First of all, I don’t rehab my Achilles in the morning,’’ Arians said. “I will go over the game plans and add things, but I don’t delete anything. I don’t have to because they do such a good job. I’ll see some things. Add some things. It’s an awesome collaboration, one of the best I’ve ever been around.’’
Arians told Stroud he never took a red pen to alter a game plan.
“I never heard of that one,’’ Arians told Stroud, apparently laughing. “That was the best one ever. That’s pretty graphic to not know what the [expletive] you’re talking about.”
And that was that, right? Hardly.
Ohrnberger went right back to Twitter on Saturday night to rebut the rebuttal.
And that drew a direct response from Stroud, while everyone following along grabbed the nearest dictionary to get the proper definition of “impregnable.”
And that was how Saturday night ended. But come Sunday morning, even as Ohrnberger was enduring a new wave of mockery over his Brady-Arians-Mahomes reporting, a new voice was heard from, and it threw its weight behind the former Patriots lineman.
Who is right? Mike Florio digs the rabbit hole a bit deeper Sunday
While entertaining, the back-and-forth between Ohrnberger and Stroud did little to advance the story. Both men were dug in. Even in the face of ridicule over the Mahomes gaffe, Ohrnberger was steadfast in his trust and belief in his Buccaneers’ sourcing.
And perhaps that is where this little dust-up was destined to end, until Sunday morning, when Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk weighed in and made a fascinating point that gave Ohrnberger’s claims a fresh jolt of credibility.
Florio, who is on record believing that Brady will not only return to play in the 2022 season but that he will be the Week 1 starter for Brady’s hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers, did a little dot-connecting in an article published Sunday morning.
Florio made note of the fact that Ohrnberger, on his radio show Friday, described his Brady/Arians source as someone “embedded with the Bucs,” and that one of Ohrnberger’s former Penn State teammates and close friends is A.Q. Shipley, who is now a Buccaneers assistant coach.
“Look at it this way,” Florio wrote. “Given the relationship between Ohrnberger and Shipley, common sense suggests that, even if Ohrnberger didn’t hear it first from Shipley, he surely would have run it by him.
“We can choose to believe or to not believe whatever we want. I believe Ohrnberger. As noted last night, I also believe Arians protested Ohrnberger’s claims just a little too much.”
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference