It’s hard to find an angle from which The Antonio Brown Situation™ has not yet been explored. It’s been dissected every which way both among Pittsburgh Steelers fans as well as just about everybody else who has an interest in the NFL.
One of the most widely discussed angles, however, has been Brown’s relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, with whom he has become one of the very most prolific duos in the history of the NFL. The two of them have the second-most receptions for the sixth-most touchdowns by any quarterback-wide receiver combination to ever play at this level.
But it’s been said often enough that they don’t necessarily have the best relationship in the world. It was characterized to Jeremy Fowler, for example, as ‘love-hate’. But former Steeler James Harrison doesn’t think, based on what he’s seen, that that is one of the bigger issues.
“I don’t know if that relationship is broke, to be honest with you. From what I’ve heard, you know, just Ben say from interviews, it doesn’t seem like it’s a big problem there, from what he says in interviews, and AB hasn’t said anything about it in an interview, so”.
Of course Harrison also spent time with Brown on multiple occasions this offseason. I’m just going to assume that there’s a more than reasonable chance he knows more details about the Brown and Roethlisberger relationship straight from the source than he said on the air.
As for what is going on with his former team, he had a simple observation as to why this season in particular has turned out in this manner. “Winning covers up a lot. Nobody’s saying that this isn’t going on. But everybody’s saying it wasn’t going on before”.
Adding personalities like Roethlisberger and Brown to Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant and this and that, the Steelers were able to keep all the clowns under the tent in recent years because they were winning often enough on the field, he argues, but this past year was different.
“Maybe it was going on before. But when you start losing, everyone wants to point to something. ‘Oh, it’s gotta be this’ or ‘it’s gotta be that’. Guys missing a walkthrough on a Saturday. Guys being late here”, he said. “That has happened with a bunch of other players, different players that aren’t starters, that aren’t named AB, Ben, Le’Veon, but it’s only coming out now because we’re not—they’re not winning”.
I don’t have any inside information that anybody else here doesn’t have, but personally I tend to believe Harrison is probably right about the relationship between Brown and Roethlisberger. There are going to be some stupid moments, but both of them know who butters their bread. Their combination is historic, and neither of them wants to lose that so easily.