According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Fitzgerald at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference said this when asked about Brown: "Mr. Big Chest is a good friend of mine, but I don't think he's going about it the right way personally. To be able to play with an all-time quarterback like he's able to play with, I don't think he understands how good he has it. It can get tough out there. It can get tough out there."
Brown requested a trade this offseason after reportedly getting into an argument with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in practice leading up to the team's Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown skipped practice for the remainder of that week and was inactive for Week 17.
Brown has also been critical of Big Ben since the end of the season, as he tweeted his thoughts on the future Hall of Fame quarterback when asked about their conflict:
Roethlisberger has been Brown's quarterback for his entire nine-year NFL career, and the tandem has arguably been the league's best during that time. Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler as well as a four-time All-Pro.
Over each of the past six seasons, Brown has not finished with fewer than 100 catches for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. Even with Roethlisberger starting to lean on JuJu Smith-Schuster a bit more last season, the 30-year-old Brown still finished with 104 grabs for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns.
The 35-year-old Fitzgerald, who is set to play his 16th NFL season with the Cardinals in 2019, is a surefire Hall of Famer despite having far less stability at quarterback.
Aside from five-year stints with Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer, Fitzgerald has cycled through many mediocre quarterbacks over the years. Even so, he is third in NFL history in receptions (1,303), second in receiving yards (16,279) and tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns (116).
While Brown has had his issues with Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, it is difficult to argue with his production. There is no guarantee Brown will do something similar with another team if the Steelers trade him.
Brown is an elite player with the ability to transform an offense, though, and there is little doubt teams in need of a shot in the arm on offense will be lining up with trade offers this offseason.