The Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with disappointment for the second week in a row after the Kansas City Chiefs came into Heinz Field and dismantled the home team. Heading into Week 3, the team must slowly turn its attention away from the embarrassing loss and solely focus on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their Week-3, prime-time matchup.
Today we focus on how, throughout all of the team’s drama, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell aren’t really the ones who receive the brunt of the attention. Sure, the team’s big fish are the ones who create the largest waves, but all of their teammates who have to constantly answer questions about them are the ones really suffering.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Antonio Brown’s frustration was on full display Sunday at Heinz Field when television cameras caught him confronting Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and wide receivers coach Darryl Drake in the second half of a 42-37 loss to Kansas City.
One day later, Brown’s exasperation reached new heights when he went on Twitter and, in response to a former team employee’s criticism, the All-Pro wide receiver suggested he would welcome a trade.
“Trade me let’s find out,” Brown replied to a tweet from former Steelers public relations staffer Ryan Scarpino, who wrote that Brown wouldn’t have such eye-popping statistics if he didn’t have Ben Roethlisberger throwing the passes.
Brown’s tweet, which was posted Monday morning, has represented his only public comment in the aftermath of the Steelers’ loss in the home opener, a defeat that dropped their record to 0-1-1.
After catching nine passes for 67 yards — a total that ranked third on the team — and engaging his offensive coaches on the sideline, Brown hurriedly dressed and left the locker room as the media was permitted to enter. He was the only Steelers player active for the game to exit so hastily.
Brown also wasn’t in the locker room Monday afternoon during a 45-minute media availability, leaving other veteran players to answer questions about the wide receiver’s latest social media antics. Already since the start of training camp, he has called a veteran reporter a “clown” on Twitter and alleged he would break the jaw of another reporter whose story delved into his personal life.
“AB is a hell of a player, and I’m glad he plays for our team. It’s as simple as that,” defensive captain Cameron Heyward said. “I wouldn’t trade him for anybody in the world.”
Heyward said he doesn’t agree with the perception that Brown puts his accomplishments ahead of the team. Brown hasn’t topped 100 yards receiving in either game this season. He has 18 catches for 160 yards and one touchdown. JuJu Smith-Schuster also has 18 catches and a touchdowns, but he has totaled 240 yards.
“Antonio gives 110 percent every single time,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about that. The dude loves football, and for anyone to even question that is besides the point.”
By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
What a big-time sports franchise owes its supporters is debatable.
But, at the very least, it seems a team’s fans should seldom feel embarrassed. They deserve that, anyway.
Lately, the Steelers disappoint in that regard far too often. The players should all get out of the same car at the 50-yard line before games. A franchise founded on quiet dignity by a distinguished ownership family has become a clown act.
It’s the result of a small, toxic group of players. But the rest are guilty by association and because they won’t do anything about it.
That goes double for the so-called veteran leaders, who might be veterans but definitely do not lead.
That goes triple for coach Mike Tomlin, who long ago went past tolerating to enabling.
It applies to Art Rooney II. He’s a competent owner and good man, but he’s not his father. He doesn’t have the cachet or control.
It applies to a too-large percentage of the fans, those who seem beyond embarrassment and just want Antonio Brown to pile up fantasy football stats on their behalf even as he serves the Pizza Hut logo better than he does the Steelers.
Let’s look at the week that was:
• Brown blew up at offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline during Sunday’s home loss to Kansas City, likely because he wasn’t getting his stats while JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jesse James were.
There’s a theory Brown was upset because the play calls got in too slow. That would be ironic coming from somebody who was several hours late when he visited sick kids at Children’s Hospital.
On Monday, Brown had Twitter beef with an ex-Steelers employee and dared the team to trade him. He didn’t show up for meetings.
Brown sycophants say he’s just a fiery competitor. That’s nonsense. Brown is just a jerk. A “big baby,” as Ben Roethlisberger appeared to call Brown at one point Sunday. (Maybe. I’m no expert lip-reader.)
By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
If you have read this space or listened to me on the radio over the years, you know this is a hot-button topic for me. No doubt, it’ll come up again in the not-to-distant future. So consider this a primer for similar arguments soon.
I say “no doubt” because this topic comes up whenever the Pittsburgh Steelers struggle, and they’re struggling right now. Based on what we’ve seen so far, 2018 is going to be a much tougher season than many of us expected, both on and off the field.
Since Mike Tomlin took over for Bill Cowher before the 2007 season, I have railed against the “this never would have happened if Cowher was here” refrain. The debate invariably crops up from bitter Steelers fans after Tomlin-era losses, particularly ones where on-field discipline is an issue.
Nowadays, whenever a Steelers loss occurs, off-field discipline and behavior are often blamed for bleeding over into on-field performance or “locker-room chemistry.” Frequently, those emails, talk show phone calls or tweets are punctuated with the old stand-by of “this never would have happened if Cowher was here.”
That whole mentality is a fallacy, of course. Because Cowher stuck out his jaw, spat when he yelled and screamed at punters, rookies and refs, he was viewed as a disciplinarian. The reality was that low-leverage players got chewed out, and higher profile players did what they wanted.
You know, kind of like the guy in charge now.
Joey Porter got an unsportsmanlike penalty, Troy Polamalu got a late hit, Hines Ward got a taunting flag — big deal. Josh Miller would flub a punt and “Look ‘aht! Coach ‘Caher’ is gettin’ all fired up, n’at!”
You could say this is a case of distance making the heart grow fonder. I say it’s a matter of age making our brains softer.