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Cam Heyward shares his thoughts on Antonio Brown: ‘I’m not condemning him but I’m saying that was not right’

While the Pro Bowl defensive end wants Antonio Brown back in Pittsburgh next season, he acknowledges that discussions have to be had before that can happen.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the Super Bowl now just one day away, it is comforting to know that the endless string of interviews involving past and present members of the Pittsburgh Steelers emanating from radio row in Atlanta will soon be coming to an end. However, that still left time for one more current player to speak on Friday, with Cameron Heyward the latest name to add to his voice to all those we have already heard from this week.

Appearing on The Cook and Joe show on 93.7 The Fan, GMFB on the NFL Network and an interview with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk among others, Heyward was faced the same line of questioning about Antonio Brown that has highlighted the past few days.

Providing perhaps the most balanced response to questions about AB, Heyward did his best to explain what had gone on in Pittsburgh this season. As per his interview on The Cook and Joe show,

“I want everybody here. I always think if a guy can help this team, I can work through any problem and I’m just looking for a lot more calmess heading into 2019.”

“When you don’t win the the games that you’re supposed to and you don’t close out games, there becomes a level of uncertainty and a level of not appreciation because you teams not in the playoffs and you’re not contending for a Super Bowl. When you win, that cures everything and everything can be swept under a rug. But when you lose, there's bad connotations that come along with it and we have nowhere to look but ourselves and we’re responsible for it.”

Acknowledging that there were a lot of angry players in the locker room after the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, Heyward suggested his teammates would be able to move past that.

“You can still be angry and still want a guy. We’re adults in a kid’s game, but I think some of it, it’s about being adults and saying that you know we make mistakes and we hold people accountable but we can grow from it and everybody can mature from it and we can use this as a teaching moment.”

“I’m not condemning him but I’m saying that was not right and I’m not happy with the situation, but moving forward I still want him to be a part of this team because I think he can help us win a Super Bowl,”

Despite the way the year ended, Heyward believes Brown can still fix the damage done by addressing a few key issues.

“He’s got to talk to the right people in charge and have that communication and I think he’s got to have a dialogue with, not only them, but a lot of other guys in the leadership. And I think all that is possible. The ball’s in AB’s court and I don’t know what the front office is going to do, but I’m fighting for everybody to be here because I think this group, and him included, can do special things. I know we’ve had missteps and I know it hasn’t been perfect, but we can grow from this and we can be a better team because of it.”

While Heyward has tried to reach out to Brown, he has heard nothing in return and seemed to take exception to AB not responding to calls from Art Rooney II.

“I think he’s tried to remain silent because he doesn’t know what’s going on, but I think you should have that communication with Art. He’s paid you handsomely and he’s treated you respect throughout your years and that should be reciprocal. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to that. You want to be a good person first and I think AB wants to be a good person and I think he’s capable of being a good person, but there’s a way to go about it the right way.”

Heyward would go on to talk about his role as a leader on the team and his expectation from Mike Tomlin next season, giving arguably the most reasoned commentary on the Steelers 2018 season we have heard all week and the full interview is well worth a listen.

During his interview with PFT, Heyward would effectively repeat many of the same remarks. Unable to answer exactly how the situation with AB had developed the way it had over the year, Heyward admitted the everyone on the team had probably allowed AB to get away with too much when talking to Florio.

“I don’t know how it transpired, exactly, but I think most people looked at his work and most people understood that AB has worked his tail off for everything he’s got. And through everything he’s got, it just culminated into something. When AB’s on that field, you’re getting 120-percent. I’ve always said he’s one of the hardest workers on our team. AB’s grown a lot, but I think the other things have outweighed what he’s put on the field. It’s been kind of messed up because everybody’s looked at “oh, he’s gotten a pass on this, oh, he’s gotten a pass on that”, when really we let some stuff go and the accountability just needs to be different.”

“AB’s still learning, we all make mistakes. I’m not going to say I’m perfect, but I don’t just say that he was wrong or we were wrong, it’s about growing. I don’t want to think that because he made a mistake, I’m going to treat you differently. I’m going to treat you just like every other teammate, but I’m going to tell you when you’re wrong and what happened was not right.”

Noting the high expectations associated with being a part of the Steelers organization, Heyward was keen for the team to make a better effort at meeting that standard in 2019 when appearing on GMFB.

It is perhaps fitting that Heyward was one of the final Pittsburgh guest along radio row this week in light of the honesty commentary he provided. His leadership will be key to the Steelers next season if they are to right the ship and it can only be hoped that Brown will have taken some of his words to heart.