As speculation swirls about Coach Mike Tomlin’s ability to control the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room, Antonio Brown joined his teammates when they returned to work Wednesday, a move that comes three days after a sideline outburst and “trade me” tweet and two days after he was a no-show at the team’s facility.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he had spoken Wednesday morning with Brown, whose antics are part of team-wide dysfunction including star running back Le’Veon Bell holding out for more money.
“I think that he’s the best in the world.” Roethlisberger told reporters Wednesday. “When you’re the best in the world, you want to help participate, you want to win football games. We’re all a little frustrated that we’re not winning right now.”
Roethlisberger wasn’t concerned about the “trade me” tweet and indicated that Brown’s outburst at offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline in the second half of the Steelers’ 42-37 loss to Kansas City stemmed from not being more involved in the offense. Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, attributed his Monday absence to a personal matter, and Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that he intended to meet with Brown on Wednesday.
“AB is a very passionate football player. I think we all know that,” he said. "That’s what makes him special, the passion he has for this game and the passion to be great. We’re not going to want to take that away from him.”
The bigger problem is whatever is going on internally with the Steelers and whether they are responsive to Tomlin. “It’s a circus there,” an unnamed NFC South assistant coach told the Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, “and Mike has no control over it. He’s one of the best coaches of my generation, but the players have too much control there.”
James Harrison, the former Steelers linebacker, called Tomlin a “players' coach.” “He’s a players' coach. I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined,” he told Fox Sports' “Undisputed.” “The big thing with [New England Patriots Coach Bill] Belichick is he’s very regimented, he’s disciplined, everyone is going to be on the same page. There’s not going to be anything as far as someone doing their own thing. I think over there, their whole coaching staff is like that.”
Terry Bradshaw, the Steelers' Hall of Fame quarterback, called Tomlin “a great cheerleader guy” two years ago and hasn’t changed his mind.
“I played for a tough sucker [in Chuck Noll], and I was afraid of him, and we played our [butts] off for him because we feared him,” Bradshaw said in an interview on Pittsburgh’s 97.3 The Fan earlier this month. “I don’t see that with this guy. He’s chest bumping and all that. I’m the head of the corporation, I’m the CEO, I’m the chairman of the board, I’m talking to the stockholders telling them here’s how we’re going to do at the end of the quarter. I’m selling this thing, and I’m not delivering the goods, which is championships. You’ve got to face the criticism.”
Read more from The Post: