Fri, 21 Jun 2019

Big Ben: Steelers sluggish start frustrating Brown

Sports Xchange
20 Sep 2018, 02:30 GMT+10

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger downplayed the drama surrounding Antonio Brown on Wednesday, telling reporters that he talked to the star wideout and attributed his frustration to the team's sluggish start to the season.

Brown has created headlines in the midst of an emotional start to the week.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection was seen venting in the direction of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner during Pittsburgh's 42-37 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Brown then offered a curious "trade me" response to a critical tweet from former Steelers public relation staffer Ryan Scarpino on social media the following day while failing to show up for work at the team facility.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus came to Brown's defense on Tuesday by saying that the wideout had to deal with a personal matter.

Roethlisberger said he talked "a little bit" with Brown and said that the Steelers' 0-1-1 start to the regular season is fueling the wide receiver's frustration.

"I think that he's the best in the world," Roethlisberger told reporters at his locker on Wednesday. "When you're the best in the world, you want to help participate, you want to help win football games. And we're all frustrated because we're not winning right now."

Brown finished with nine receptions in his second straight game on Sunday while increasing his season total to 160 yards and a touchdown. Brown has a team-high 33 targets, although he is averaging a career-low 8.9 yards per catch.

"I think it's early in the season," Roethlisberger said. "It's two games in ... obviously in the first game we had some elements that didn't let me get him the ball as much as I should have. And last week, they put a lot of guys on him, but other guys were open, too. I'm not worried about A.B., he'll be just fine."

Brown has recorded 100-plus-catch seasons in each of the last five years. He also has eclipsed 1,200 receiving yards while reeling in eight or more touchdown passes in every season during that stretch.

Signed to a four-year, $68 million contract extension in February 2017, Brown had 101 receptions for an NFL-best 1,533 yards last season despite missing two games with a calf injury. He also had nine touchdown catches en route to being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Year.

Brown has 751 career receptions for 10,070 yards and 60 touchdowns since entering the league as a sixth-round pick of the Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

The Steelers will vie for their first win on Monday night (8:15 p.m. ET) against the unbeaten Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) at Raymond James Stadium.

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