Even though he’s been a bit quieter on social media as of late, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown made up for it on Wednesday by sitting down with Jeff Darlington of ESPN for a one-on-one interview. During that interview, Brown not only confirmed that he wants to be traded but he also took a shot at Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert for his “52 kids” comment from last week that he has twice since tried to clarify.
“Of course he tried to clarify because, you know, he stated the truth and he’s going to backpedal on his words,” Brown told ESPN. “But what grown man is calling another grown man a kid? ‘Fifty-two kids.’ Like, you don’t have no respect for these guys? Like, these are the guys that go to work for you. And that’s what I’m telling you guys … that’s my issue. You know what I’m saying? It’s all about respect.
“… Things [are] not getting better. They’re not changing. You know what I mean? He just stated it. There’s 52 kids and it’s this guy [Roethlisberger]. Bro, it’s one team. … So that’s what it is, man. Just understanding truths.”
Colbert was told on Wednesday during his annual scouting combine press conference that Brown had stated during his interview with ESPN that he wasn’t happy with the “52 kids” comment and the Steelers general manager once again tried to explain the context of it.
“Yeah, I mean the 52 kids comment, if anybody was there for the entire 30 minutes of the interview, they understood what I was saying. And I first put myself first in the blame for the 9-6-1 non playoff season,” Colbert said. “So, when referencing 52 kids, what I was referencing is Ben Roethlisberger is the only player on our roster that’s won a Super Bowl. And I’ve had that conversation not only with Ben, I had that conversation with Maurkice Pouncey, I had that conversation with Cam Heyward right after the season during our exit interviews. So that’s something that, really, anytime I say anything in the media, I’m not afraid to say it to our players and probably have prior to that.”
Brown also made sure to point out during his ESPN interview that he believes he was right in what he had to say about Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger over a week ago we he stated during a social media video that ‘he has an owner mentality.’
“He pretty much just explained what I already had told everyone [on social media],” Brown said of Colbert’s references about Roethlisberger being the unquestioned leader of the team. “He just confirmed it. He confirmed everything I said.”
I’m sure there will be more from this Brown interview with Darlington that will surface in the next few days. In the meantime, however, nearly every NFL head coach or general manager that speaks at this year’s scouting combine in Indianapolis is being asked about Brown and if their team is considering trading for the disgruntled wide receiver. The Steelers can’t officially trade Brown for two more weeks and they likely hope to do so before having to pay him the $2.5 million roster bonus he’s due on the fifth day of the new league year.