After a troubling 48 hours that saw Antonio Brown arguing with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on Sunday, followed by a no-show at practice on Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver was reportedly disciplined for his actions by Mike Tomlin. While the Steelers’ coach would not say what transpired between him and his player, Tomlin did suggest Brown might be more forthcoming when he addressed the media on Thursday.
In front of an army of reporters waiting for him, No.84 did not disappoint.
I think there’s a Steelers player talking to the media today about something or something pic.twitter.com/B1pJtHSFsQ— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 20, 2018
Brown: "I am passionate about winning." pic.twitter.com/kYMCPAveet— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2018
Clearly angered by the team’s poor start to the season, Brown’s unhappiness seemed to be as much about Pittsburgh’s performance on game day as it was about the way he believes the press have mischaracterized his actions.
Nine minutes of Antonio Brown speaking to the media and ooh boy, he had some things to say. He’s ‘pissed off’ the Steelers are losing, won’t fake his passion on the sideline, says media doesn’t know him and keeps taking the bait, much more— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 20, 2018
Antonio Brown on sideline behavior Sunday: "I'm not on the sideline begging for the ball or making statements you guys make. I’m pissed off. We’re losing. We suck.”— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 20, 2018
Antonio Brown: "Everyone in this locker room knows what I stand for, what I’m about. I’m committed to this program and this org.. I go to work every day, about my business, and I don’t take it for granted. My business is winning...We ain’t winning, you damn right I’m pissed off"— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 20, 2018
Despite a turbulent few weeks with the media that saw him have a run in with Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and threaten an ESPN writer on social media who wrote an unflattering piece about him, Brown was keen to point out that he hadn't run away from reporters after the team’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Asked why he wasn't in the locker room after the game, AB: "If you want to talk, let's talk. I'm right here. I'm not hiding from none of you. I don't hide from no one."— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) September 20, 2018
Reminded he wasn't in the locker room Sunday, Brown said. "I was available."
Uh, AB, no you weren't.
As to his absence on Monday, that was apparently for personal reason and something he had already told Tomlin about beforehand, even if the Steelers’ coach had not mention that himself. Likewise, the trade talk was equally a non-story, a flippant remark on Twitter that he did at least acknowledge was inappropriate.
Antonio Brown says No, he doesn't want to be traded; Yes, he made "a stupid remark" on Twitter; No, he can't respond to people on-line; Yes, he accepts Mike Tomlin disciplining him even tho he says he missed Monday for personal reasons - and did tell Tomlin he'd be absent.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 20, 2018
#Steelers WR Antonio Brown in the locker room: “It was a guy that used to work here, a PR guy … take a personal shot at me. But obviously I don’t want to be traded and I’m still grateful to put on my uniform. ... I just got to stay away from online with the distractions…"— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2018
Steelers Antonio Brown: "Obviously I don’t want to be traded. I’m still grateful to put on my uniform, grateful to be part of this organization. I don’t take it for granted. Obviously it was a stupid remark online. I just got to stay away from online and the distractions."— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) September 20, 2018
If there was any real discipline from Tomlin, it does not appear that it will involve playing time either.
Antonio Brown's discipline apparently won't extend to playing time. I asked him if he expects to be on the field from the first snap Monday night. His response: "Why wouldn't I be? You don't want to see me in my jersey?"— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) September 20, 2018
And if he is still carrying an injury, he doesn't think anyone cares enough to hear about it.
"I'm not upset about anything. I'm upset that we not winning. We're getting our ass kicked. `I can't throw the ball to myself. I don't count stats. You guys do that. that's not my job. My job is to help the team win."— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) September 20, 2018
A win on Monday could draw a line under this latest drama, but should Pittsburgh fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, it is anyone’s guess as to how Brown will react. While no one can question his passion and desire to win, as a team leader, he needs to be setting a better example.
Brown is not the only one on the roster unhappy about the way the season has begun or their role on game day, but no one else is acting out like him either. With Le’Veon Bell creating more than enough headlines of his own, the last thing this franchise needs is another distraction.
To his credit, this does not seem to be entirely lost on Brown, even if the realization was somewhat delayed in coming. However, it remains to be seen if he really has learned anything from all this.
Antonio Brown expressed regret for any teammate stress he created this week, saying, "Obviously it's a distraction when you're writing guys on Twitter and your teammates have to answer for it."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 20, 2018
But really, he's been a good teammate. No one's had to answer Le'Veon questions!
I've covered Antonio Brown for six years. The things he's saying about winning, about the work he puts in outside of this building and about not just being here to "cash a check" are ALL things he's said for six years. As for not hiding the way he feels... I'm lousy at that too.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 20, 2018