It’s hard to keep track of all of Antonio Brown’s gripes over the offseason, but you might remember him ripping Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership.
“He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches,” Brown tweeted on Feb. 16 about Roethlisberger. “Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game.”
There have been long discussions about Roethlisberger’s leadership lately, and particularly him publicly criticizing teammates on the radio last season. That led to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert’s regrettable comment that Roethlisberger has “52 kids under him.”
Brown is gone, traded to the Oakland Raiders, and Roethlisberger decided to have a bonding trip with his skill-position teammates who remain.
Ben Roethlisberger hosts teammates
ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler wrote that Roethlisberger had the Steelers skill position players to his lake house in Lake Oconee in Georgia.
Fowler wrote that Roethlisberger has hosted teammates at his lake house before, but hadn’t in previous years because he has a wife and three children now.
The story said the players hung out but also got in some on-field work. It’s never a bad idea to spend more time with your teammates. Maybe Brown’s comments, which Roethlisberger never addressed publicly, hit a little close to home.
Roethlisberger faces a different challenge
The Steelers chose Roethlisberger. Whether or not you think the Steelers made a true good-faith effort to give Le’Veon Bell the contract he wanted, he’s gone to the New York Jets. Brown was shipped out after a reported conflict with Roethlisberger before a Week 17 game last season. Roethlisberger got a large contract extension this offseason.
Quarterbacks have different leadership styles. Some are difficult to play with because they demand a lot. Most don’t use radio shows to say a teammate ran the wrong route, but Steelers players get that treatment sometimes.
Perhaps Roethlisberger sees the value in changing his style a bit. Maybe the lake house getaway is a sign of that. Roethlisberger will be under even more pressure with Bell and Brown gone, and will need all the help he can get.
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