Steelers' Antonio Brown on Le'Veon Bell turmoil: 'We're family'

PITTSBURGH -- From one All-Pro to another, Antonio Brown is supporting Le'Veon Bell.

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver said the locker room turmoil surrounding Bell's absence is unnecessary.

"No one wins when the family feuds," Brown told reporters Friday as he prepares for the Week 1 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. "At the end of the day, we're family. We want the best for him. That's what it's all about. It's not about pointing fingers and fighting among each other. We are a core group that should respect and love each other regardless of the situation."

Asked if Bell is still family, he said, "When he comes, we'll be a part."

Several teammates criticized Bell from the locker room on Wednesday for the running back's decision to leave his $14.5 million franchise tag unsigned. One veteran player told ESPN that Bell "f---ed us" by not telling teammates he would be gone.

But the team reversed course by Thursday, with guard David DeCastro saying the team likes Bell and there are "no hard feelings."

On Thursday night, Brown posted a picture of Bell and Brown celebrating a touchdown together, along with a message: "We all we got, we all we need. ready to roll whenever you get back with us, family."

Bell has not decided when to return to the Steelers and will forfeit $853,000 for each week he doesn't show up. He must sign his tender by 4 p.m. Saturday to get paid for Week 1. Bell and the Steelers failed to reach a long-term contract in each of the past two summers, and the running back isn't happy about playing on the franchise tag.

Brown, who is eyeing a sixth consecutive 100-catch season, never has played on the tag but wanted a new contract in the 2015 and 2016 offseasons. He never stayed away from the team and signed a four-year, $68 million extension last offseason.

"Everyone has their own personal business," Brown said. "My business is to be the best guy here."

He added he is ready to set a tone on the field, with or without Bell.

"Employee 84 is here, ready to work," Brown said. "No one else matters."