We were only recently informed of what is an apparent rift between the Pittsburgh Steelers and/or a select player or players and wide receiver Antonio Brown. We knew that things weren’t necessarily perfect—Brown doesn’t have the personality to ever let things be perfect—but that he would skip practice and jeopardize his status for a game is a point I’m sure most of us felt we would never reach.
Yet here we are, and nobody is happy about it. Including team captain Cameron Heyward, who appeared on the WDVE Morning Show to discuss that situation along with many other things. “You’ll never see another guy do that because I don’t think anybody ever expected it”, he said of Brown skipping practices after an apparent blow-up. “I think to say it was a knee is one thing, but then to find out it was because there was a spat between two guys, that doesn’t sit well with me”.
While the situation might not be up to Heyward’s standards for how he would like his teammates to conduct themselves in his locker room, however, the leader remained resilient in his hope and belief that there is a resolution to the situation that keeps Brown on the roster and productive.
“Player to player, I think there’s got to be a lot of honesty to see where both people are coming from”, he said. “But there’s a lot of mending that has to go through that, because there are a bunch of guys that put their trust in every guy in that locker room, ask a lot of each other. There are sacrifices made and when someone feels slighted in that regard, that hurts a lot and it takes away from the trust, that chips away at your chink of armor”.
Still, he added, “I think it can be mended, I think it should be mended, but that’s not to say that we don’t hold each other accountable and demand more and recognize where we’re at fault. I think everybody makes mistakes in this world and everybody is not perfect, but it’s about owning up to your mistakes and understand where you fell short”.
I think it’s fair to say that the ball is in Brown’s court, however, and right now he is playing with James Harrison, a former player who was expelled last season in part because he chose to act insubordinately when he didn’t get the playing time he felt he was entitled to. So not the best start.
“I’m hoping and if AB is listening to this, you can always call me”, Heyward said. “We can have a good talk, but I would love for it to get mended because with everything said out there, we all have to be adults and talk about where we fall short. I’m never for the fact that when we trade a guy away or, you look for a quick fix. I think quick fixes only put a bandaid over it and it continues to bleed”.
The Steelers are a wounded animal right now, and this situation is just picking at the scabs. It’s an embarrassment. There’s no better word for it. Adults should be able to handle themselves better than this. But that doesn’t mean that the only solution is to cut ties.