Steelers News

Ben Roethlisberger Regrets Calling Out Antonio Brown ‘Because It Ruined A Friendship’

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest drama of the offseason is whether or not proven special teams players will be kept on the 53-man roster over the latest darling rookie undrafted free agents. And in the broader perspective, it’s a beautiful thing, considering what else we could be talking about.

Like hot air balloon rides. Or frostbitten feet. Or multiple appeals about using a helmet that is prohibited by both the NFL and the NFLPA. Or multiple lawsuits from chefs and trainers and who knows who else. Or, dios mio, blonde mustaches.

That’s California’s problem now.

Nevertheless, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger still has regrets about how it all ended, and the role that he played within it. the fact that Antonio Brown has perpetuated his severed relationship with his former teammates, particularly Roethlisberger, does signal that it was about more than just money, though that played a major role as well.

The quarterback was interviewed heading into Sunday night’s game, which aired during halftime, and he was asked about Brown and the mild criticism that he offered about a route he ran during an interception against the Denver Broncos at the end of the game.

“I wish I wouldn’t have done it”, he said, but I think his answer to the question of why was just as telling. “Because obviously we saw what happened. And obviously it ruined a friendship”, he said. He regrets saying it because of the end result, not because of a reconsideration of what he actually said.

“If the safety comes down and takes away the run, I pull the ball back and throw it over the top of his head to Antonio, who’s supposed to be running a really flat, down-the-line kind of route”, he said in describing the play as a run-pass option back in November. “We’ve done it against our defense plenty of times, we ran it in games before”.

When asked about whether or not he regretted throwing the ball, and whether or not the pass would’ve been intercepted even if the defensive lineman hadn’t gotten it, he said of the coverage on Brown, “he did undercut AB. So who knows what would’ve happened. And that’s why I talked to AB. ‘AB, you have to come flat. You can’t drift in the end zone because those undercuts can happen”.

That’s not exactly the harshest criticism I’ve ever heard in my life, truth be told. He simply relayed an account of a conversation that he had with Brown after the play, telling him that, as he had in the past, he needs to run that route flat so that the defensive back can’t undercut it, which is similar to what Jalen Ramsey did against Brown against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but under more difficult circumstances.

And let’s not forget about what Brown himself said of Roethlisberger’s words after he heard about it. “Anything he says, there’s a method to his madness. It’s only going to inspire the group, encourage the group to be better. I know the type of guy he is. I know it can be misconstrued and changed in regards to how you guys put out there. But he means well. He’s here to inspire us all.”

He added, “I got big shoulders. I can take it. Constructive criticism is only for you to get better. It’s not personal. It’s made to challenge you. It’s made to make you better. That’s my guy.”

How naïve we were to think he had big shoulders. Only a big chest, and frostbitten feet. And a frosted mustache.

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