Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown on Friday stomped out any lingering narratives of a rift developing between either his quarterback or his understudy running mate at receiver, Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
“In the world we live in today, I think controversy is celebrated a lot,” Brown said when questioned about Ben Roethlisberger’s criticisms of him and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s better production than him. “People try to put people against each other, bring people down. But we all need each other. There’s power in unity and people coming together, and not in people fighting and bringing each other down.”
But, Antonio, your quarterback publicly criticized your route-running on the deciding play of last Sunday’s loss at Denver, openly expressed he wanted to throw to Smith-Schuster on every play and refused to anoint you the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver – a title you’ve held for a half a decade. In your first public comments since Roethlisberger said all that, how do you respond?
“It’s not personal the way you guys (in the media) make it,” Brown said. “You guys make big stories. That’s my guy. I love him. I got his back no matter what’s said. Everything he said is gonna encourage us to get better.”
Moments later, Brown referred to Roethlisberger as “My guy,” and insisted that any negative words the veteran quarterback might have about his teammates are done to “inspire” and “encourage” the rest of the team
After all, Brown points out, Roethlisberger is the only player in the Steelers’ locker room who’s won a Super Bowl ring with the organization.
“We have a lot of good history together – and we will continue to make history,” said Brown, who has set records for catches and receiving yards while compiling the vast majority of his production off passes from Roethlisberger. “We have that relationship where we challenge each other, we encourage each other. That’s the situation you wanna have with your quarterback.”
But don’t the personal criticisms hurt?
“I got big shoulders. I can take it,” Brown said. “Constructive criticism (is) only for you to get better. It’s only made to challenge, only made to make you better. And that’s my guy.”