There has been quite a lot written in recent weeks about the supposed divisiveness of the ‘antics’ of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. A certain somebody with a certain website with football in the title has certainly been having a field day cherry-picking quotes from local beat writers to exploit a narrative that the Steelers’ coaches, front office, and players are all growing tired of the best player on their roster.
It would seem to me that those who are writing about how everybody is growing tired of Antonio Brown are the ones who are growing tired of Antonio Brown and are projecting their own exhaustion onto those for whom they do not speak. The same can be said of Le’Veon Bell.
And one beat writer did say it. Dale Lolley let his thoughts be known on the topic yesterday addressing the increasing number of “people assuming that [Bell and Brown] are somehow bad teammates, nothing of which could be further from the truth”.
This is somebody, by the way, who has worked with Brown a number of times on the radio along with Gerry Dulac, and who has even expressed a grievance or two of his own about the star player. I’m going to take his word over what sort of teammate Brown is and how he is viewed in the locker room and from the coaching staff over—well, let’s just say most people who have commented on the subject.
Lolley spent much of the article discussing Bell and how he is seen by his teammates, but added later on that Brown “also is respected by his teammates. They see how hard he works. They know he constantly strives to be the best”.
He also pointed out that his reception total per game dipped from 8.4 catches during their 4-5 start in the first nine games to 5.3 catches per game during their winning streak, in seeking to combat that narrative that Brown is a selfish player who regularly pouts when the ball doesn’t go his way in some manner that is beyond the norm.
One other thing that he touched on was the early tenure of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and how he had a lot of growing up to do over the course of the past six years. It was necessary, but it was done, and Roethlisberger is now largely in the good graces of everybody around him. That was not the case early in his career.
Lolley acknowledged that “there were people in the organization disappointed that he filmed the team’s locker room during head coach Mike Tomlin’s post-game speech”, and he also wrote that the excessive celebrations “ended once Tomlin put his foot down”.
I do find it quite hard to believe that there are people who actually believe Brown has done anything serious enough to have the Steelers legitimately contemplating whether or not he is worth what his on-field abilities and the open market dictate. No doubt he is going to get an earful about social media and shoes and celebrations. That’s normal. But that’s it.