It’s open season on Antonio Brown in the media, with pundits saying it’s time for the Steelers to trade him, and former teammate Ryan Clark referring to the receiver as a “monster.”
However, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the player Brown allegedly had a run-in with before a practice last week, had only good things to say about him Tuesday. Addressing the situation for the first time on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, Roethlisberger called Brown “one of my closer friends.” He has denied he was the player Brown allegedly threw a football at in a moment of anger last week. That incident reportedly led Brown to skip practice all week, which resulted in him unexpectedly being benched for the season finale against the Bengals.
“If there was a blowup or something, I sure as heck didn’t see it,” Roethlisberger said (via ESPN).
Brown has now reportedly requested the Steelers trade him, and some observers believe that’s a possible outcome, despite a sizable salary cap hit.
Roethlisberger said he doesn’t want to see Brown traded.
“I hope he’s back here with me because he makes me better,” Roethlisberger said.
“I’m blessed to play with him. I consider him one of my closer friends. … Each guy has to answer that question [about welcoming Brown back]. I know guys are frustrated, some of the guys I talked to, that they tried to reach out to him and didn’t hear back.”
Veteran reporter Jason La Canfora reported Tuesday Brown is frustrated because he believes Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin are too close. Tomlin is expected to address the media on the issue Wednesday.