The Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 season came to a close on Sunday and some drama that reportedly happened with wide receiver Antonio Brown during practice last week that led to head coach Mike Tomlin holding him out of the team’s regular season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals was finally addressed Tuesday morning by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan.
First, Roethlisberger was asked if he was surprised that Brown was held out of Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
“He is such an incredible talent and I’ve been blessed to have him as my teammate and truly a good friend, one of my better friends on the team, so Coach [Tomlin] made that decision right before the game,” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger was then asked to explain what happened during Wednesdays practice that set Brown off.
“That’s the kind of baffling thing to me is people are making a big deal about a walk-through on Wednesday, that there was a blow up, a fight between he and I, I don’t know anything about that,” Roethlisberger said. “If there was a blowup or something I should as heck didn’t you see it. This big deal was made about that and I’m not really sure where that comes from. I talked to A.B. on Thursday morning, because after the walk through A.B. left on Wednesday and on Thursday morning I talked to A.B. and everything was great and fine and then this story just keeps growing. So like I said, I considered to be one of my closest friends on the team, so I’m not really sure where some of this blowup is coming from.”
Roethlisberger was then asked if he thought everything was fine with Brown as of Thursday morning.
“Absolutely, the Steelers quarterback said. “He and I talked and that’s the last time I spoke with him. I’ve reached out to him numerous times, I’ve called him, texted him, I know other guys on the team have, too, and haven’t heard back from him. But Thursday morning he and I talked and there was no issue. So, I’m not really sure.”
Roethlisberger was then asked if he has any idea as to what may have set Brown off and if him maybe not being voted team MVP last week had anything to do with it.
“Yeah, you know, I don’t know, Roethlisberger said. “I can’t speak for A.B. We were trying to prepare, I was trying to prepare myself to go out and win a football game against Cincinnati. So honestly, I can’t speak for him and his mindset.”
The Steelers quarterback was then asked what he was thinking when Brown failed t show up the rest of the week for practice.
“Not really sure because I had heard some mixed things about a knee and then he wasn’t really there to get the opportunity to speak to them,” Roethlisberger said. “Like I said, I reached out to him numerous times – called, texted and tried to talk to him to find out what was going on and just hadn’t heard back. So, I really couldn’t get any answers for me.”
How does the Steelers locker room feel about Brown and his actions last week?
“Like I said, I’m blessed to play with him and I consider him one of my closer friends,” Roethlisberger said “Obviously, Pouncey and Ramon, but A.B. and I have been together for a long time and I owe so much of my success to him and so I consider him a really close friend on the team. And each guy has to, like I said, has to answer that question and I know guys are frustrated. I think the biggest thing is I know some of the guys that I’ve talked to, they’re just trying to reach out to him and they haven’t heard back. So I think that’s what’s frustrating to a lot of guys.”
Roethlisberger was finally asked if he feels this latest drama with Brown has now caused an irreparable situation with the team.
“No, I think we’re frustrated because we want A.B. to play because he makes us all better, the Steelers quarterback said. “He had an amazing season this year and like I said, he, makes me who I am, so it makes all of us better. So it’s really just about, I think communication is the biggest thing for a lot of us.”
As you can see, Roethlisberger really tried to downplay whatever happened last Wednesday, which reportedly included the wide receiver firing a football at the quarterback. We’ll now have to wait and see what Tomlin has to say about last week’s incident when he addressees the media for the final time this season on Wednesday.
Tomlin told the media after Sunday’s regular season finale win against the Bengals that Brown was essentially held out of the contest because he wasn’t fully healthy because of a knee issue.