During an apperance on LeBron James's HBO show, "The Shop," Steelers running back Antonio Brown was asked about what happened during Pittsburgh's last week of the 2018 season, when Brown missed the team's regular season finale against the Bengals after a reported blowout with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and his strained relationship with the team.
Brown starred in this week's episode of the show alongside James, Maverick Carter, rappers Meek Mill and 2 Chainz, Pelicans' big man Anthony Davis, comedian Jerrod Carmichael and actor and rapper Jamie Foxx.
When Carter asked Brown if there was any chance he'd go back and play for the Steelers, Brown said there was "too much smoke." The question sparked a conversation about when his relationship with the team went south.
Brown said the drama started when he met with coach Mike Tomlin about feeling "a little banged up," going into the Steelers' game against Cincinnati.
"So, I meet with Coach Tomlin and I'm telling him like, 'Hey, man, I'm a little banged up. So, I'm going to need a little time to get right,'" Brown told the group. "So, he's like, 'If you're banged up, man, just, you know, you, you can just go home.'"
Brown said Tomlin didn't offer treatment or ask what was wrong, which rubbed the veteran wideout the wrong way.
"So, I'm like ... damn, that's where we at?" he continued.
Brown went on to discuss his relationship with Roethlisberger and how that played into what transpired. Brown said he felt like he and Roethlisberger were on different pages by the end of the season largely because of the franchise QB's "ego."
Brown: "Yeah, once the last game came, everybody's wanting to go home with the confusion, too much confusion, I'm like, damn, this is where they're really at. Because now they're showing me the reality. You know, all you have to go do is call me out, we lose the game, he's like, damn, AB should have ran a better route."
Carter: "Why would he, why would Ben do that? What's up with that?"
Brown: "The type of guy he is. He feels like he's the owner. Bro, you threw the s--- to the D-lineman! What the f---? I'm over here wide open! You need to give me a better ball! But it's like in the league, you're going to have a guy from the team that'll be like, 'Boy, you can't say nothing.' I need you to get out there like, but it's like why I got to be acting? At least ask a n----- how he feels first. Right or wrong. Right? Then if it don't matter how I feel, then f--- it then, why am I here, you know what I'm saying?"
The veteran wideout has requested a trade from Pittsburgh–the only team for which he has played since the Steelers' took the Central Michigan product in the sixth round of the 2010 draft–and has been vocal with his criticism of the franchise and Roethlisberger in particular.
During a Twitter Q&A in February, Brown reiterated his comment that Roethlisberger has an "owners mentality" and that teammates can’t call the quarterback out, “otherwise they meal ticket gone." General manager Kevin Colbert came to Roethlisberger's defense, saying that that Roethlisberger "has 52 kids under him." He later tried to explain his remarks and added that Roethlisberger was "the unquestioned leader" of the team.
Brown met with the Steelers and both sides decided it would be best if Brown moved on after nine seasons with the team. He added that he is not mad at the team despite things said by Colbert, but still wants to move on from the franchise.
During Pittsburgh's 2018 season, Brown had 104 catches for 1,297 yards and scored 15 touchdowns.