It’s a common criticism these days to fault the Pittsburgh Steelers for displaying a lack of discipline, and really, with each passing news cycles it’s becoming harder and harder to deny. But one thing that isn’t true is the idea that they don’t have strong locker room leaders capable of policing themselves.
That doesn’t mean that there will never be any problems, but when you have a guy like Cameron Heyward in your midst and you say that there are no strong leaders, I’m going to find that to be a problem. Heyward when on the WDVE Morning Show yesterday to discuss the season and the Antonio Brown situation and made it pretty clear.
“I didn’t know the whole situation until right before the game. We really didn’t know what was going on”, he said of Brown’s conduct and the decision that he would not play. “I think It was crazy. I don’t think as a teammate you want that. We know AB’s a great talent and we all want AB here, but to be a part of this team, you can’t do that, you don’t let your brothers down”.
That was not the only time that he would strongly state that Brown’s conduct was not up to the standards expected of a player in the Steelers’ locker room. “I’ll never question what AB does on the field, but not going full strength and still not doing it, that’s what hurt more as a team”.
“Going forward, I think everybody wants AB on the team, but we all got to be on the same page and I’m not just singling out AB, I’m talking about everybody from the top to the bottom, we all got to be accountable for it and I’m sure Kevin and Coach Tomlin will be talking to him, but going forward, that’s not acceptable”, he added.
As the NFL increasingly becomes more player-oriented rather than team-oriented, Heyward pushed back. “We all signed up for this game and we all sign up to be part of a team”, he said. “And when one of your teammates falls short, we’re hard on them and we’re tough. But I don’t know all his side and I don’t know all of the other side, but we all got to be there and we let ourselves down in that aspect”.
He was then asked if he was confirming that Brown’s failure to play was due to a disciplinary decision rather than an injury situation. Head Coach Mike Tomlin during his press conference said that it was due to lack of communication regarding his health status.
“I guess it was discipline but to put not only the 53, but the coaches and all of our guys, up in the air like, is just unacceptable”, Heyward said. Yet he was still sympathetic to where the wide receiver was coming from—not just now, but over the course of his entire life, which was at times extremely trying.
“I know what type of player AB is, I know what type of person AB is as well”, he said in explaining why he wouldn’t want him to be traded. “And I think AB’s been hardened by a lot of situations growing up in his life and not everybody can see that part of AB. And I am appreciative of it how AB’s had to fight all his life, but I still think we can grow together as a team and we can all be in this together and we can all be responsible for it”.