Ryan Clark offered a pointed rebuttal after Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh's reigning MVP, said the veteran safety is bitter because he is no longer with the Steelers and that his outspoken nature adversely affected team chemistry.
On Sunday, Clark took to Twitter to rebuff those claims.
My family babysat for Antonio and my wife planned his son's birthday party. He's not smart enough to realize what a good teammate is! #done
- Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) April 28, 2014
Brown told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Sunday that strong opinions voiced by Clark during the offseason, including a claim that some Steelers players use marijuana to deal with injuries because they are afraid of getting addicted to pain pills, is a "form of bitterness."
Clark has appeared on ESPN as an NFL analyst this offseason.
"When you see people taking shots who were on the same team and wearing the same jerseys, that's a sign of not having that team camaraderie," Brown said. "That's something we need to get back, something we haven't had for the past two years."
Clark signed with the Washington Redskins last month after starting the last eight seasons at free safety for the Steelers. His teammates voted him a captain in 2013, and the Steelers went 8-8 for the second consecutive season following the franchise's first 0-4 start since 1968.
The Steelers moved quickly to get younger in the secondary this offseason, signing former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell on the first day of free agency to take Clark's spot in the starting lineup.
Clark later signed a one-year contract with the Redskins -- the team he had been with before joining the Steelers in 2006. He helped Pittsburgh win a Super Bowl and play in another during his time in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers' former union representative had long been one of the most outspoken players in the Steelers' locker room and one who hasn't been shy about voicing strong opinions, whether it's criticizing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's player-safety initiative or weighing in on a number of league wide topics such as players' use of marijuana for medical reasons.
Brown said Clark's claim that some Steelers players used marijuana reflected a division in the locker room. He also cited a teammate anonymously ripping former Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley's work ethic in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last offseason as an example of a locker room that has to become more harmonious as the Steelers try to return to the playoffs after missing it the last two seasons.
"When you see stuff like that happen repeatedly year after year -- from a guy calling LaMarr Woodley out, from a guy that's calling the team out for illegal uses of a substance -- it just shows the lack of team camaraderie we had in the locker room, the lack of togetherness," said Brown, who set a Steelers single-season record with 1,499 receiving yards in 2013. "When you see things like that, it shows you how guys feel even when they're not part of the team anymore. We've kind of got a new team and a new environment, and I'm excited to get the draftees in and get everybody together so we can get rolling."
Clark said on his Twitter account that he does not harbor any hard feelings over the Steelers not re-signing him. He also wished Brown well.
"Antonio Brown can feel and say anything about me he'd like," Clark wrote. "We all have opinions. I'm not bitter and I'm not mad at him. Wish him the best!"