There are more than a few people in the world who should not have access to their own social media accounts, because they tend to do more harm, for themselves and for others, than good. One of them is Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, who simultaneously is bemused and annoyed by the fact that he still exists as a notion in Pittsburgh.
After recently opining that ‘my ex still thinks of me’ in response to an article that noted Pittsburgh’s ratings for Hard Knocks were sky high, he was less than thrilled about hearing about himself through one of his former teammates when his old team played under the national spotlight.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were playing in primetime on Sunday night in the third preseason game, the ‘tune-up’ contest in which the starters actually play. That included the one and only game in which Ben Roethlisberger played.
Predictably, given the primetime game and the fact that he was playing, the network interviewed Roethlisberger. And predictably, given that this was his first game since last season, he was asked about what happened since last season, including the dissolution of his relationship with Brown.
He said that he regretted calling out Roethlisberger “because it ruined a friendship”. He didn’t actually say that he regretted saying it because he felt it wasn’t the right thing to say, in fairness, but I don’t suspect that Brown would even pick up on the distinction.
In a since-deleted Tweet that the internet will nonetheless remember forever, because that’s what the internet does, Brown wrote that the two were “never friends” and told Roethlisberger to “shut up already”.
After deleting that Tweet, and being reminded of the many times that he said Roethlisberger was his friend—even his best friend on the team—he Tweeted, “you see when your a young Wr in this league and you’re a late round pick or even undrafted you pretty much got to do whatever to make it or even get a look”.
Of course, he had no need to “get a look” last year when he referenced Roethlisberger as the ‘goat’, the greatest of all time. He volunteered that on his own for no reason. But it’s a similar remark he made when attacking JuJu Smith-Schuster for having Roethlisberger’s back, saying that players will say anything until they get paid.
Now that Brown is paid and out of Pittsburgh, he’s content to burn all the bridges on his way back to town. But Pittsburgh is the city of bridges, and has no shortage of wide receivers in his absence. He will be remembered, but it will be equally for his on-field greatness and off-field absurdity, at least by the generation of fans who lived through his era, which was marked by zero Super Bowl appearances but lots of yards.