From a reported blowup to silence.
Ben Roethlisberger is playing dumb amid the Steelers’ Antonio Brown fiasco, claiming that if Brown had an incident in practice, the quarterback did not see it. And if Roethlisberger wanted an explanation from his star wideout, one has not come: Brown is not answering his calls or texts.
Roethlisberger spoke publicly for the first time since news of Brown’s feuding surfaced following the Steelers’ final game of the season. Brown missed the game and left at halftime, not because he was hurt, as had been stated, but because he reportedly erupted at a midweek practice, then missed more practices and meetings, and the Steelers benched him until he left Heinz Field on Sunday.
In an interview with KDKA-FM radio in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the longtime face of the Steelers claimed ignorance of the root of the problem but called Brown “one of my best friends on the team.” It’s a friendship that apparently has hit a bump.
“I called and texted and reached out numerous times and tried to find out what going on,” Roethlisberger said, via Trib Live, saying Brown has been silent since Thursday morning. “But I really couldn’t get any answers.”
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Multiple reports have indicated Roethlisberger was involved in the practice altercation, a claim he denied. Yet he also supported coach Mike Tomlin’s decision to bench Brown.
“I’m blessed to play with him,” Roethlisberger said. “I consider him one of my closer friends. … Each guy has to answer that question [about welcoming him back to the locker room]. I know guys are frustrated, some of the guys I talked to, that they tried to reach out to him and didn’t hear back.”
Tomlin is expected to address reporters Wednesday after a rare playoff-less Steelers season, which began with Le’Veon Bell drama and is ending with Brown drama. Already some are calling for the Steelers to trade perhaps the most talented receiver in football.