NFL Teams
Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Staff Writer 13d

Steelers WR Antonio Brown apologizes for outburst

NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was contrite during an interview from his locker Friday, saying repeatedly he must stay calm on game days.

Brown, who flipped a Gatorade bucket and swiped at offensive coordinator Todd Haley from the sideline Sunday in Baltimore, spent much of his 10-minute session praising quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, "the general of our team."

"You've got to do a better job of controlling emotions," Brown said. "I don't want to wake up and turn on the TV and you guys are talking about me throwing a tantrum. We should be talking about Ben and a lot of guys who had a great game, the Steelers winning a big game."

Brown said he approached Roethlisberger earlier in the week because he didn't want his quarterback feeling as if he was a distraction. Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show Tuesday that Brown should have talked to him directly instead of acting out, which taints his "superhuman" ability on the field.

In the second quarter Sunday, Brown was upset over a fake crossing route that left him wide-open deep, but Roethlisberger was working the other side of the field because of the Ravens' pre-snap coverage.

Brown said he "let [Roethlisberger] know how grateful I am to him."

"He's the guy who's given me every opportunity," Brown said of his quarterback. "He's always put me in a place where if he feels I'm out of [line], he always lets me know. ... I don't want him to think I'm spazzing out because he does a great job of throwing me the ball, giving me the best chance to make plays."

Brown, who also expressed contrition after his Facebook Live incident in the playoffs last season, said he realizes his actions affect others, particularly young players.

Brown is working on his fifth consecutive 100-catch season and is second league-wide in receptions (30) and yards (388). Thirty-four of those yards came in Baltimore. But over a 16-game season, Brown knows the plays will come. That's why he says he's glad the quarterback called him out.

"It's not about me. It's about the Steelers," Brown said. "We all make mistakes as players. Sometimes I might miss a read. I don't see Ben throwing me under the bus if I drop the ball or if I run the wrong route or didn't get my depth. I don't see him kicking the cooler. It's no excuse for my behavior. I'm glad [Roethlisberger] did what he did. He called me out. As a general of our team, he has every right to call anything out. ... I'm just grateful we have a great leader who's forgiving and accommodating and willing to talk to me."

Brown also made sure to speak with Haley, for whom Brown says "I have a lot of respect." Brown said he knows Haley was just trying to calm him.

Has Brown become an easy target as a perceived selfish player? The only way to combat that perception is by not giving critics ammunition, Brown said.

"I know everything I do is going to be magnified," Brown said.

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