How many times has Antonio Brown apologized at this point, and to how many different people and groups? Quite frankly, I’ve lost count. His latest apology to Ben Roethlisberger, his former teammate, however, feels like the most desperate one yet, and perhaps the one that shows that he’s starting to understand the consequences of the many bizarre actions he has taken over the course of the past year-plus.
While we (largely after the fact) are aware that the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver’s behavior has often left much to be desired, both on and off the field, so much of it happened behind closed doors that when he embarked on his scorched-earth strategy of getting out of Pittsburgh last year, he had a lot of supporters who were putting the blame on everybody but him for his situation.
His support system at large has nearly entirely evaporated, and that’s been entirely his own doing. One can’t help but feel that the sentiment that he expressed in his latest apology was the most sincere yet, during which he admits he misses the great football relationship he had with Roethlisberger and the unprecedented connection he had.
During the offseason a year ago, he gave an interview with ESPN in which he essentially said he doesn’t need the game, seeming to indicate he would be open to just retiring if he didn’t get his way. With football having been taken from him for most of the past year, he’s realizing he was wrong. He clearly wasn’t ready to walk away from the game yet.
Yesterday, Mike Florio reminded us of the prophetic words shared by Larry Fitzgerald a year ago when asked about Brown, who at the time was still under contract with the Steelers but was demanding to be traded.
“Mr. Big Chest is a good friend of mine, but I don’t think he’s going about it the right way personally”, Fitzgerald said. “To be able to play with an all-time quarterback like he’s able to play with, I don’t think he understands how good he has it. It can get tough out there. It can get tough out there”.
Clearly, he didn’t understand. Now, it at least seems as though he does. Not that it matters, for himself or for anybody else. Pittsburgh might be the city of bridges, but that doesn’t mean there are any to spare if you burn one down.