Brown says he’s upset Steelers are losing
PITTSBURGH — The chorus of “The Storm Is Over” by gospel singer Kirk Franklin played as Antonio Brown approached his locker on Thursday, an intentionally apt choice by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker/DJ Vince Williams to address the latest bit of drama surrounding his superstar teammate.
Brown heard the song and laughed. Then the All-Pro wide receiver stepped in front of his stall and turned to face the cameras. The music stopped. The smile faded. In its place? A mix of frustration, defiance and — he insists — remorse.
Yes, he’s upset the Steelers are winless through two games. Yes, he probably shouldn’t have responded to criticism on social media from a former team employee by suggesting the team trade him if it wants to find out how productive he can be without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
No, he doesn’t actually want to get out of Pittsburgh. No, he doesn’t have an issue with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. And as for his demeanor during a 42-37 loss to Kansas City last Sunday? Sorry, but he’s never going to apologize for letting his emotions bubble over when things aren’t going well.
“We haven’t won a game yet,” Brown said. “For me, as a Steeler, that’s unacceptable. I’m not on the sideline begging for the ball, or making statements like you guys make. I’m pissed off. We’re losing. We suck.”
Pittsburgh (0-1-1) is off to its worst start in five years heading into Monday night’s visit to Tampa Bay. That’s the problem, Brown insisted. His visible anger — he was caught slouching off the field following a late touchdown drive by Roethlisberger against the Chiefs and shouting at Fichtner on the sideline — is a direct result of the team’s record. And that’s all.
“Our business is winning,” Brown said. “We’re not winning. And when we don’t win, I’m pissed off because I take it serious. A lot of time goes into this. A lot of hard work and effort.”
Brown finished with nine receptions for 67 yards and is tied for the team lead with 18 catches through two games. He’s on pace for another statistically remarkable season. Yet the six-time Pro Bowler stressed he is far less concerned about his numbers than helping the Steelers get it together.
“I’m in the spotlight so you guys going to always put me under the microscope, but I’m a (passionate) individual,” Brown said. “I can’t fake the way I feel. I can’t hide the way I feel. If it wasn’t important to me, I’d just say it don’t matter. But I’m not that type of guy who’s just around here cashing checks and don’t care. This means something to me.”