Sports
Home / NFL

Ben Roethlisberger defends 'passionate' Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Antonio Brown

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-09-20 00:30:13

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is supporting teammate Antonio Brown after a turbulent 72 hours.

Roethlisberger said he's spoken to Brown and is not taking Brown's actions -- including a sideline confrontation with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, a "trade me" tweet to a critic and a no-show Monday -- personally.

"I think that he's the best in the world," Roethlisberger said of Brown. "When you're the best in the world, you want to help participate, you want to win football games. We're all a little frustrated that we're not winning right now."

Brown was clearly upset with his role during Sunday's 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and did not address the media after the game. On Monday, former Steelers public relations staffer Ryan Scarpino tweeted Brown wouldn't be the same player without Roethlisberger, to which Brown replied, "Trade me let's find out."

That same day, he didn't show up to work for what agent Drew Rosenhaus called a "personal matter" in a statement.

Coach Mike Tomlin said during his Tuesday news conference that he would speak "very directly" to Brown about all that's happened, but he added Brown would be a "significant guy" for the Steelers' 2018 efforts.

Roethlisberger said Wednesday from his locker that Brown's tweet wasn't directed at him and isn't concerned about Brown's behavior as of now.

The 0-1-1 Steelers are seeking a much-needed win at Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football.

"AB is a very passionate football player, I think we all know that, the fans know that," Roethlisberger said. "That's what makes him special, the passion he has for this game and the passion to be great. We're not going to want to take that away from him.

"When he gets frustrated in games, just tell him to stay with me, talk to me, communicate with me, let me know how I can -- if I missed you on something, if you're getting open and I didn't see you, let's just talk and communicate. He does a great job of doing that."

Brown leads the league with 33 targets, but none of his 18 catches have gone for more than 22 yards. Brown couldn't break loose Sunday with 67 yards on nine catches despite Roethlisberger's 452 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Brown was seen walking off the field by himself, head down, while the rest of the offense celebrated a Roethlisberger touchdown scramble with 1:59 left.

Brown and Roethlisberger have become one of the most potent duos in NFL history with five straight 100-catch seasons.

Brown's antics and Le'Veon Bell's absence over the franchise tag have placed a spotlight on the Steelers' locker-room culture under Tomlin. But Roethlisberger points to organizational stability -- mainly, the team's three head coaches since 1969.

"I love this franchise, this organization, and it starts at the top with the Rooneys," Roethlisberger said. "Art is a great leader for all of us. There's a reason there have only been a few coaches here. If there were issues at that level, we'd have a lot more turnover there. I think at some point the coaches have to do their thing, but it also comes down to players doing theirs."

That could include staying off social media, as Roethlisberger said he does. On occasion, he's told teammates not to address "trolls or whatever" who bait players into responses.

"It's just about being about your business, about your job, going out to practice, to meetings, being on time, and making sure you hold guys accountable," Roethlisberger said.

Most Popular

Highlights

Top
BACK TO THE TOP
Copyright 2015 - . All rights reserved.
FOLLOW US