Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown may not be on the best of terms after the latter forced a trade this offseason, but that didn't stop the signal-caller from stating how important his former teammate was to his career.
"AB made me who I am," Roethlisberger said, per Bob Pompeani of CBS Pittsburgh. "He was the greatest wide receiver I ever played with. The things that he did in this league and that we did together are among the best of all time."
Big Ben also acknowledged they were unable to work through their issues this past offseason.
"There was some great things and then all of a sudden it just kind of...it disappeared and I'm not sure really where it went. We always worked through it, you know? We always came out the other side smiling and hugged it out and enjoyed it and moved on, and this time, I really don't know."
Roethlisberger opened up about a number of topics when it came to Brown, including offering an apology for publicly calling the receiver out on his radio show on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh following a November loss to the Denver Broncos.
The quarterback blamed Brown for a poor route during a play that ended as an interception and suggested targeting JuJu Smith-Schuster would have been the better option. Roethlisberger said of discussing the team on his radio show:
"It's a fine line to walk sometimes of giving information out. Giving some cool things for the fans to be a part of and maybe saying too much. I know that I took some heat and deservedly so for some of the comments I made on that show and especially towards him. And I genuinely feel bad about that and I'm sorry. Did I go too far after that Denver game? Probably."
Brown didn't seem too impressed with the apology after offering a cryptic response that appeared to reference Roethlisberger:
Pompeani noted this isn't the first time Brown expressed his frustration with Roethlisberger publicly calling him out. He did so on HBO's The Shop as well: "All year, the dude called me out. We lose a game, he's like, yeah, AB should have ran a better route. That's the type of guy he is. He feel like he the owner. Bro, you threw that s--t to the D-line, how the f--k am I gonna get it? You need to give me a better ball!"
Brown also tweeted that Roethlisberger has an "owner mentality" in February:
Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in December that Brown missed the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals following a dispute at practice with the quarterback. He also threw a football at Roethlisberger.
Despite all that, Roethlisberger said he has reached out to Brown and still considers themselves friends, but he hasn't heard back from him yet.