PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – The Steelers seem to be trying to put to bed the perceived contention between Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown as they prepare for Sunday’s game with Jacksonville.
On the forefront of those efforts was offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who attempted to restrain Brown during Sunday’s win in Baltimore after Roethlisberger failed to find an open Brown on a crossing route.
“I just knew he was worked up and tried to calm him down a little bit,” Haley said following Thursday’s practice. “Guys are competitive and passionate, so it kind of got away at that point and it seems to have worked itself out.”
The outburst, in which Brown ripped his arm away from Haley and later threw a Gatorade cooler on the sideline, was met with harsh criticism from Roethlisberger.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened, and it’s unfortunate that he acted and reacted that way,” Roethlisberger told 93-7 The Fan during his weekly radio show Tuesday. “I know that he’s a competitor and he wants the ball, but all of us are competitors.”
Roethlisberger doubled down on those comments Wednesday, saying that calling out players is the responsibility of an elected team captain, like himself.
Still though, Haley was more empathetic than his quarterback Thursday.
“There’s going to be some emotion out there,” Haley added. “I’ve been one of the emotional ones at different times, so I’m understanding of it.”
Haley perhaps gave little weight to the situation due to the challenge his offense will see Sunday from a Jaguars defense that leads the NFL with 18 sacks.
“They’ve got a lot of guys that can really rush the passer,” he said. “They play with a high energy, to the whistle, each and every play. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Adding to the struggle could be the absence of right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who again missed practice with a hamstring injury. All other players participated fully.