The relationship between Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown sounds worse than originally thought.
NFL Network analyst and former Packers receiver James Jones provided details from within the Steelers organization that show an ugly rift between the star quarterback and receiver.
“It’s always on [coach Mike] Tomlin and AB, it’s never on Big Ben,” Jones said this weekend, seeming to at least partially be telling Brown’s side of the story.
“He’s never the problem … it’s always the other guy. … Big Ben and AB’s relationship is not like that … I was told in meetings he would take shots at AB: ‘I don’t gotta throw you the ball [on that play].”
And that came to a head on the Wednesday before the Steelers’ season finale against the Bengals, when a win coupled with a Ravens loss would have given Pittsburgh another AFC North title.
“When he did go to practice, I heard he ran the wrong route, Big Ben threw the ball on the ground and said, ‘Get him out of here. Get somebody else out here,’” Jones said. “That was AB’s boiling point, and we know when we get mad, we say things we don’t want to say.”
Brown was a no-show for the rest of the week before arriving at the game Sunday, when he was made inactive and would leave at halftime. Since that point, Brown has been waging a social media war with the Steelers and Tomlin vented his frustration over the situation.
ESPN.com reported Sunday that the Steelers would be trying to trade Brown before March, despite the $21 million cap hit. Brown, 30, is still one of the top receivers in the sport, pulling in 104 catches for 1,297 yards and an NFL-leading 15 touchdown receptions this season.
Jones said he believes the rift between Roethlisberger and Brown may be irreparable after reports that Brown is not returning calls from the quarterback.
“For [Brown] not to call [Roethlisberger] back, that lets you know the relationship that they have and he’s not digging Big Ben like that and it’s always somebody else’s fault but [Roethlisberger’s],” Jones said.