The relationship between Antonio Brown and his teammates took a weird turn this past week.
Rather than missing the team’s final game due to a knee injury as it was initially reported, Brown allegedly got into it with a teammate, skipped practices and then was benched for the team’s pivotal Week 17 game.
Many reports since then have pointed to a dispute with Ben Roethlisberger, however Big Ben is pouring cold water on that notion.
During his weekly radio show with KDKA-FM, Roethlisberger called Brown “an incredible talent” and “one of my best friends on the team,” per the Pittsburgh Tribune. On the reported fight between them, he said, “If there was a blow-up, I sure didn’t see it.”
He also said he spoke with Brown on Thursday and that “everything was great and fine.”
However, since then is a different story, as Big Ben said neither he nor many of his teammates have been able to communicate with Brown in any way.
“I called and texted and reached out numerous times and tried to find out what going on,” Roethlisberger said, “but I really couldn’t get any answers.
“I know some (teammates) are frustrated. I think the biggest thing is guys tried to reach out to him and haven’t heard back; that’s what’s frustrating to those guys.”
The fact that Brown has completely pulled himself away from the team is really the most troubling aspect of all this. It’s one thing to have a disagreement with your teammates. It’s quite another to ditch practices, skip team meetings and then skip out on your team at halftime after you’ve been benched.
All this reeks of something far deeper that could certainly be a problem throughout the offseason.