Steelers’ James Washington: I appreciate Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership
Antonio Brown was no fan of the way Ben Roethlisberger would criticize his play. But Brown’s former teammate feels much differently about the same thing.
Brown wasn’t the only target of Roethlisberger during the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s weekly radio show two days after a loss against the Broncos last November. Brown famously was told Brown he “needed to run a flatter route” route on a play that resulted in a game-ending interception in the end zone Nov. 25 in Denver.
James Washington also had an embarrassing-looking missed catch earlier in that game when he mistimed a dive and did not catch what appeared to be a sure touchdown.
“He has to make it,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 FM that week. “I just think he didn’t trust his hands. For some reason, he jump/dove. I’m not really sure what he was doing. We look at it (on film), and coach got on him pretty good yesterday.”
After the Steelers’ third organized team activities session of 2019 on Thursday, Washington said he had no issue that Roethlisberger called him out.
“He’s a captain,” Washington said. “That’s what a captain is supposed to do.”
Earlier Thursday, Washington said “everyone respects” Roethlisberger. “That’s a guy who’s worked hard enough to earn that.”
“I didn’t even know what it meant, to tell you the truth,” Ben Roethlisberger said about the ‘owner mentality’ accusation from Antonio Brown. “So I didn’t have much of a reaction to it." #steelers https://t.co/kSQlDEbcr5
— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) May 22, 2019
Speaking on the HBO show “The Shop” in March, Brown referenced Roethlisberger commenting on Brown’s route by saying: “(That’s) the type of guy he is. He feels like he’s the owner. ‘Bro, you threw the (expletive) to the D-lineman. What the (expletive)? I’m over here wide open. You need to give me a better ball.”
Washington said Roethlisberger had more encouraging words for him in private.
“That kind of made me at ease,” Washington said.
“It’s hard coaching, but I have been hard coached my entire life, so it really wasn’t nothing new to me,” Washington said. “It helped me get back on track a little bit and back to where I needed to be.”
Washington had two of his better games of the season over the final three weeks of 2018. After the offseason trade of Brown, he is in a competition with newly-signed Dante Moncrief and rookie third-round pick Diontae Johnson for the No. 2 outside receiver job opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .