Ben Roethlisberger admonished Antonio Brown on Tuesday, two days after the Steelers wide receiver flipped over a Gatorade cooler when he wasn't targeted on a third-down pass in the second quarter of a 26-9 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
“I'm not trying to call him out,” Roethlisberger said on his weekly 93.7 FM radio segment, “but it's causing a distraction that none of us really need.”
Brown was upset with the Steelers holding a 3-0 lead in the second quarter when Roethlisberger didn't throw to him downfield, electing to target running back Le'Veon Bell. The pass fell incomplete, and the Steelers had to punt.
After the game, Roethlisberger said “you can't blame” Brown for his passion, but he appeared to have a change of heart Tuesday.
When he returned to the sideline, Brown flipped over the Gatorade cooler and then walked away from offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
“I was disappointed because it wasn't like I intentionally missed him, wasn't like I intentionally didn't throw it to him,” Roethlisberger said. “I was doing what my reads told me to do. I don't even want to say I made a mistake because I was reading the side I was supposed to read. It's unfortunate that it happened, and it's unfortunate that he acted and reacted that way.
“I know he's a competitor. He wants the ball. But we're all competitors, we all want the ball. We all want to make plays. I told him on the sideline to come talk to me.
“If it was Heath Miller, I'd ask him if he were open and he'd probably tell me no because he wouldn't want you to feel bad,” Roethlisberger continued. “I wish he would have come talked to me and said, ‘Ben, I killed him on this play.' That goes a lot further than a temper tantrum.”
Roethlisberger said the optics of Brown walking away from Haley, which was caught by television cameras, didn't create a favorable impression.
“We all tried to talk to him and it didn't help” Roethlisberger said. “It's bad in a sense that we've got a lot of young guys who see that too. (Rookie) JuJu (Smith-Schuster) is sitting right next to him and looking at that. What's JuJu thinking? Is he thinking it's OK to act that way?
“He's a veteran guy. I know he's passionate about the game. We love that passion. AB is the best receiver in the world, maybe one of the best to ever play the game. Him and I together may be one of the best QB-WR combos to ever play the game. I don't know he needs to react that way.
“He's superhuman on the football field and when that happens it almost brings him back to being a mere mortal, if you will.”