The Pittsburgh Steelers missed the playoffs in 2018 for the first time since the 2013 campaign, and former wide receiver Hines Ward is embarrassed many of the team's headlines have been generated off the field instead of between the lines.
"It's embarrassing for me being a former player that we talk more about the off-the-field stuff," he said on The Will Cain Show (h/t NFL on ESPN). "It should be about the play, it shouldn't be about the extra stuff that goes along with our organization."
Running back Le'Veon Bell sat out the season instead of signing a franchise tag, and wide receiver Antonio Brown missed the final game of the regular season following a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In January, team president Art Rooney II told Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it's "hard to envision" the receiver being on the team in 2019.
What's more, TMZ Sports reported Brown was involved in a domestic dispute in January but was not arrested. According to TMZ, police launched an investigation. Darren Heitner, Brown's attorney, has called the allegations "baseless and false."
Ward played for the Steelers from 1998 through 2011 and was a two-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowler.