Antonio Brown on Ben Roethlisberger Reflecting on Relationship: Shut Up Already

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIAugust 27, 2019

Oakland Raiders' Antonio Brown jogs onto the field before stretching during NFL football practice in Alameda, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

There is no love lost between Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger—at least on Brown's end. 

Roethlisberger sat down with NBC's Michelle Tafoya for an interview that ran Sunday night. In it, the 37-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback expressed regret for calling out Brown's route-running that he felt led to a game-ending interception in a loss to the Denver Broncos last season. 

"I wish I wouldn't have done it," Roethlisberger said. "Because obviously we saw what happened, and obviously it ruined a friendship."

"Never friends just had to get my ends......shut up already," Brown tweeted Tuesday in response.

At the time of the criticism, Brown was more diplomatic. "I've got big shoulders. I can take it," the 31-year-old said, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "Constructive criticism is only for you to get better. It's not personal." 

Now that Brown has been traded approximately 2,500 miles away to the Oakland Raiders, it seems there's room for the truth to get out.

According to Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris, who made that interception in Week 12 against Pittsburgh, he deserves a little bit of credit for breaking up the prolific duo:

Andrew Siciliano @AndrewSiciliano

Broncos DL Shelby Harris should get credit for breaking up the Steelers with his Week 12 pick. “Lo-key? Yeah, kinda.” #UpToTheMinute @nflnetwork https://t.co/v1ac3wQf8p

It was a different conflict between Brown and Roethlisberger ahead of the Steelers' last game of the season that may have been Brown's last straw in Pittsburgh. The two Pro Bowlers got into a "fairly ugly" argument during practice, which caused Brown to skip ensuing practices and be benched for Week 17.

Brown requested a trade in mid-February.

The Steelers traded Brown to Oakland in March. However, just prior, the All-Pro receiver said Roethlisberger "feels like he the owner" while appearing on an episode of LeBron James' HBO series The Shop (h/t Yahoo Sports). Brown had relayed a similar sentiment in response to a fan's question on Feb. 16: 

Brown isn't the first to claim Roethlisberger isn't the best teammate. Former Steelers receiver and current Bronco Emmanuel Sanders called Peyton Manning "a far better leader" than Roethlisberger following his departure to Denver in 2014.

However, the drama involving Brown hasn't been exclusive to Roethlisberger. Brown has had a tumultuous first preseason in Oakland with frostbitten feet suffered while undergoing cryotherapy in July and two lost grievances against the NFL over which helmet he will be allowed to wear from this season forward.

"The helmet and the foot, all that is behind him now," Drew Rosenhaus, Brown's agent, said on Sirius XM radio (h/t CBS Sports). "He's entirely focused on football and is ready to have another prototype Antonio Brown season. He's going to flourish with Jon Gruden and Derek Carr. I'm very excited for him moving forward."

The Raiders will hope to see Brown's production outweigh any drama throughout his three-year, $50.125 million contractPrior to the public discord, Brown excelled in Pittsburgh—blossoming from a 2010 sixth-round pick to a four-time All-Pro recording at least 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last six seasons.