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Steelers notebook: Todd Haley can relate to Antonio Brown's sideline antics

Joe Rutter
| Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 6:39 p.m.
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he understood why receiver Antonio Brown got upset on the sideline during Sunday's game against the Ravens.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he understood why receiver Antonio Brown got upset on the sideline during Sunday's game against the Ravens.

Todd Haley laughed off Antonio Brown's sideline tantrum in Baltimore because, well, it would be hypocritical if he didn't.

The Steelers offensive coordinator found himself in Brown's crosshairs after the wide receiver flipped over a Gatorade cooler Sunday in the second quarter of the Steelers' 26-9 win over the Ravens.

Haley approached after Brown took a seat on the bench. Brown got up and walked away. Haley tried to grab the back of Brown's shirt, but Brown twisted away and swatted at Haley's hand.

No hard feelings, Haley said Thursday.

"You just try to understand that guys are passionate and want to contribute and want to make plays, and there are going to be some emotions out there," Haley said. "I've been one of the emotional ones at different times, so I'm understanding of it."

When Haley was offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, he got into a sideline spat with receiver Anquan Boldin late in the NFC championship game that preceded the Super Bowl matchup against the Steelers.

In 2011, when Haley was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, TV cameras caught him exchanging words with quarterback Matt Cassel.

"I just knew he was worked up and tried to calm him down a little bit," Haley said about the incident involving Brown. "Guys are competitive and passionate, and it got away a little bit.

"It seems to have worked itself out."

Although Brown was wide open on the third-and-4 play in question, Haley said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the correct decision by checking down to running back Le'Veon Bell.

"AB was upset he didn't make a play," Haley said, "but really, everybody did what he was supposed to do."

Wide open

Chris Hubbard served as an extra blocking tight end in the second half of last season and reported for three plays in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings.

With Hubbard starting in place of an injured right tackle Marcus Gilbert, the job fell to backup interior lineman B.J. Finney to help boost the running game against the Ravens. Finney played nine snaps at tight end, including one when a pass play was called. Finney was open, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't see him until after throwing to tight end Vance McDonald.

Haley was asked whether there's a play in the book for Finney to be targeted.

"We just put him last in the read as much as we can," he said, laughing.

Haley, though, said he's fortunate to have two linemen capable of being used at tight end.

"It's not for anybody," he said. "You have to have a level of athleticism that some guys don't have. They need to be smart. … We've got guys who have developed really good versatility. Certain weeks we feel that is a good matchup for us, and we're not hesitant at all to use it."

Injury report

On a rainy day in which practice was moved indoors after initially starting outside, Gilbert was the lone non-participant Thursday.

Gilbert has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury but returned to practice Wednesday. If he is unable to play, Chris Hubbard would start a third consecutive game.

Gilbert missed three games last season at a similar juncture with an ankle injury.

All other players who were limited or sidelined Wednesday returned to full activity, a list that included safety Sean Davis (ankle), linebacker Bud Dupree (shoulder), guard Ramon Foster (thumb), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related), linebacker Ryan Shazier (shoulder) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (biceps).

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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