Antonio Brown has the support of his teammates from afar.
While preparing for Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Orlando, Steelers center and captain Maurkice Pouncey said he believes the ongoing issue between the disgruntled wide receiver and the team will eventually work itself out.
“We’re a band of brothers. We’ve been together a long time,” Pouncey said, via ESPN. “You can’t tell me a great phone conversation or a sit-down can’t get things right.”
Fellow wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, who replaced Brown in the Pro Bowl due to injury, echoed Pouncey’s thoughts, saying he doesn’t want to see Brown end up on a different roster.
“He helps out the team a lot — not only myself, he makes the team better,” Smith-Schuster said. “Obviously I don’t control the situation, but if I could, I wouldn’t like for that to happen.”
Tensions between Brown and the team, specifically quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, have grown this season in the aftermath of Le’Veon Bell’s ugly contract dispute. Brown sat out the team’s regular-season finale against the Bengals after a reported blowup with Roethlisberger, and Pittsburgh missed the playoffs for the first time in five years despite a win over Cincinnati.
Steelers president Art Rooney II released a statement earlier this month insisting the franchise is open to every option this offseason except for releasing Brown.
Nonetheless, Pouncey thinks a little time and patience will help everyone move on and toward a solution eventually.
“The simple fact it’s two Hall of Fame players, there’s a reason it’s being brought up so much,” Pouncey said of Brown and Roethlisberger. “Rightfully so. I agree everyone has opinions and everybody can talk about things.
“But I honestly think, and I’ve been playing football a long time, things will get worked out. They are the best duo in Steeler history. If you don’t want to talk to two Hall of Famers who have played with each other and did so much together, I just don’t understand what ‘team’ is anymore.”