In the last few days, there has been much made about Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown’s actions that include being away from his team on Monday along with his strong statements about being “pissed off” about his team’s shortcomings on the field in the first two weeks of the season.
In response to that, former Steelers great wide receiver Hines Ward voiced some disappointment with the situation during an interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio as he believes that Brown should be stepping up in more of a leadership role. (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk)
“I’m a little embarrassed,” Ward told Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio, “in the sense that that’s not the Steelers culture. We’re not really big on kind of having off-the-field issues with a lot of different guys. . . . Listen, I understand he’s a passionate guy and wants to win more than anybody in the world, but in this case I kind of think he’s wrong for the outburst. When things aren’t going good, a lot of people look at the leaders on your team. . . they want to see how you respond to adversity. It’s something that I wouldn’t have done. I get it, you’re frustrated. You want to win. But having outbursts like that doesn’t do anybody any justice.”
Given the type of player that Brown is and the presence he has in the locker room with the respect from his teammates, it has put a bigger level of responsibility to step up on that end in Ward’s eyes. He is one of the leading factors on the team that has helped maintain a consistent amount of success over the years, which makes his voice that much more impactful to the locker room.
There isn’t any ill-will or issues with Brown, but rather that Ward wants to see him be a part of the solution more in helping the franchise turn things around for their early-season struggles. There is plenty of time for the Steelers to pick it up and contend for the playoffs and further than that.
With this situation behind Brown and the team, it is now on their shoulders to push them in the right direction before things head further south.