Hines Ward to CBS Sports Radio: 'I'm a little embarrassed' by Antonio Brown's actions
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ career receiving leader said on a national radio show that he is “a little embarrassed” by the player who’s on track to surpass him.
Speaking to The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio early Saturday morning , Ward said Antonio Brown’s recent chain of off-field actions was “something I wouldn’t have done.”
Brown missed a team meeting Monday, a day after he spotted at least twice yelling at assistant coaches on the sideline of a loss to Kansas City and also not celebrating with teammates after touchdowns. Monday morning, Brown wrote “trade me let’s find out” in response to a Twitter post from a former Steelers employee that suggested that Brown wouldn’t be as productive if he wasn’t playing with Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown over the previous month also twice lashed out at a reporter on social media.
“I’m a little embarrassed in the sense that that’s not the Steelers’ culture,” Ward told Gelb. “We’re not real big on having off-field issues with a lot of different guys. AB, I understand he’s a passionate guy and he wants to win more than anybody in the world. But in this case I kind of think he’s wrong for the outburst. When things aren’t going good, a lot of people look at your leaders on the team, the players and the guys who are doing it, they want to see how you react to adversity.
“It’s something I wouldn’t have done. I get it. You’re frustrated. You want to win. But at the same time, having an outburst like that doesn’t do anyone any justice.”
Ward did not specify exactly which of Brown’s actions he “wouldn’t have done” and/or was “embarrassed” by. Brown received discipline from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for the missed meeting Monday, which Brown said was excused and for personal reasons.
Ward was Brown’s teammate over the final two seasons of his 14-year career (all with the Steelers) that ended in 2011. His 1,000 career catches and 12,803 yards each lead the Steelers. Brown, 30, ranks second in both with 751 receptions for 10,070 yards.
Ward also touched on some other Steelers’ recent off-field issues:
• He has no use for the prevalent social media usage by today’s players, particularly on game days and when players interact with heckling fans. “As athletes, when you respond to some of the stuff you see on social media, it’s a lose-lose situation. Media take it and run with it. It’s just a distraction you don’t need.”
• Ward defended Tomlin for the drama seemingly encircling the team. “A lot of that stuff is really out of his hands.”
• Ward said he was “very surprised” that at least three Steelers players (two were former Ward teammates) publicly admonished Le’Veon Bell for not signing his franchise-player tag and reporting to the team in time for the regular season. “That’s an unwritten rule for anyone because you might be in that position one day; that’s a business decision between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell…. If you are not part of that business decision, you shouldn’t comment at all. I was very surprised hearing that. Now everyone was focused on that and not on going to Cleveland (in Week 1) and beating the Browns, because to Cleveland, that’s their Super Bowl.”
Listen to all eight minutes of the Ward interview with Gelb here . It begins at the 13:07 mark.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.