Antonio Brown rejoins Steelers 2 days after being a no-show
Antonio Brown returned to work Wednesday, rejoining his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates after not showing up Monday for scheduled film review and team meetings.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he spoke to Brown “a little bit,” but he said the All-Pro wide receiver did not address teammates about his absence.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Tuesday that Brown did not report Monday because of a “personal matter.” Coach Mike Tomlin, who typically reveals when players have excused absences, did not do that at his Tuesday press conference. Tuesday is a day off for Steelers players.
Rosenhaus said Brown did not mean it when he tweeted “trade me let’s find out,” in reference to a former team employee’s social media comments that Brown owes his success to playing with Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger also said he doesn’t believe Brown was being serious about his “trade me” message.
“If I spoke to him and personally he reiterated those things to me or if I felt they were personally coming from him and not just a reaction to someone else, maybe I’d have a little more worry,” Roethlisberger said. “But as of now I don’t feel that way.”
Roethlisberger said frustration over not being a bigger part of the offense is the genesis of Brown’s behavior. He confronted offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sidelines in the second half of the Steelers’ 42-37 loss Sunday to Kansas City. He also walked off the field by himself while teammates were celebrating Roethlisberger’s touchdown run that cut the deficit to five points with 1:59 left in the game.
Brown exited the locker room as reporters entered, and then he didn’t report to UPMC Rooney Sports Complex the following day.
“He’s the best in the world,” Roethlisberger said. “When you’re the best in the world, you want to participate, you want to win football games and we’re all a little frustrated because we’re not winning now.”
The Steelers, with an 0-1-1 record, face the 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night in Tampa.
Brown has been targeted 33 times this season and has 18 receptions. He ranked third on the team in receiving yards against the Chiefs. Roethlisberger said he is open to helping Brown work through his frustrations during the game.
“Just talk to him, tell him to stay with us,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s not the only guy who gets frustrated during games. We all get frustrated. When you’re the best in the world, you might get a little more frustrated than others, but AB is a very passionate football player.
“We all know that, the fans know that. That’s what makes him the special, his passion for the game and the passion to be great. We’re not going to want to take that away from him. When he’s getting frustrated in games, just tell him to stay with me, talk to me, communicate with me and let me know how I can … if I missed him on something or if there’s a way you’re getting open and I didn’t see it, just talk and communicate, and he does a great job of doing that.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at email@example.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.