Steelers to Brown: Knock off the antics
Tomlin, Roethlisberger pointed in remarks about star receiver.
PITTSBURGH – Head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were pointed in their message to Antonio Brown about the receiver throwing a tantrum on the sideline during last Sunday’s 26-9 win at Baltimore.
Knock it off.
“That goes a lot further than throwing a temper tantrum,” Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio spot with KDKA-FM.
Brown knocked over a water cooler, then pulled away from offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was trying to calm him down, following a second quarter incompletion to running back Le’Veon Bell on third down that led to a Pittsburgh punt.
The Steelers (3-1) led the game just 3-0 at that point and Brown had broken wide open on a pattern to Roethlisberger’s left. But Roethlisberger said his read on the play took him to the other side of the field, away from Brown.
Tomlin said he didn’t see Brown’s tantrum because he was watching what was happening on the field. But he heard about it after the game and was asked about it Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
“It doesn’t need to happen,” Tomlin said. “It shouldn’t happen. Hopefully, he learned a lesson through that.”
It’s not the first time in his career Brown has had an outburst on the field that could be seen as showing up one of his teammates.
But he said in this instance, he was upset because the play in question was one the team had worked on and planned to run against the Ravens.
“It’s like a kid being excited for Christmas,” Brown said following Sunday’s game. “You work on it. You’re expecting that play on that day.
“Anytime you work hard and you expect something out of the play and it goes the other way, you just get a little frustrated.”
A little frustration is one thing. An outright temper tantrum could be considered a potential distraction.
Tomlin and Roethlisberger expressed how such an outburst by Brown could be perceived among his teammates, especially the younger ones.
It also can help tarnish Brown’s reputation, taking away from the things he does on the field.
“A.B. is the best receiver in the world, maybe one of the best to ever play the game,” Roethlisberger said. “I’d like to think him and I together may be one of the best quarterback-wide receiver combos to ever play the game. I don’t know that he needs to react that way. He’s superhuman on the football field, and when that happens, it almost brings him back to being a mere mortal, if you will. Because it gets in his head and it just messes with all of us a little bit.
“I’m not trying to call AB out. I just think this is causing a distraction that none of us really need.”
Brown is second in the NFL in catches (30) and receiving yards (388) and surpassed 650 career receptions in just 104 games, the fastest any player has reached that total in league history.
He also has been a distraction at times because of his behavior, most notably his Facebook Live post in the locker room following a playoff win at Kansas City earlier this year when Tomlin was caught calling the New England Patriots a disparaging name.
Despite that, the Steelers gave Brown a 4-year, $68-million contract extension in the offseason, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback player in team history.
Part of what made the former sixth-round draft pick a star is how hard he works at his craft because of his competitiveness. He wants to be the greatest.
The Steelers love that. But would prefer the 29-year-old start acting his age.
“A.B. is a competitor, we all know that. It aids him, it aids us,” Tomlin said. “He has to control (his emotions). If not, it can work against him, it can work against us. Those are lessons you learn along the way.”
Odds and end zones
Tomlin said the Steelers made it through the game in Baltimore without any significant injuries and that the players who sat out against the Ravens – safety Mike Mitchell (hamstring), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) and linebacker James Harrison (illness) – could play this week when Pittsburgh hosts Jacksonville. … Tomlin said he wasn’t upset that the Steelers had eight penalties against Baltimore given that referee Walt Anderson’s crew worked the game and they call things “tight.” Pittsburgh has 37 penalties through four weeks, the second most in the league but opponents have 31, the fourth-highest total in the league.