- Despite high hopes among fans heading into the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to win a game this season and are struggling with chemistry in the locker room.
- Star wide receiver Antonio Brown was at the center of the team’s latest controversy when he responded to a former Steelers staffer’s critical tweet.
- Brown’s antics come in the midst of Le’Veon Bell’s prolonged contract dispute and absence from gameplay that has frustrated many of his teammates.
What once looked to be a promising season for the Steelers has devolved considerably just two weeks into the regular season.
Pittsburgh crashed to the bottom of the AFC North standings after tying the Browns in Week 1 and falling to Patrick Mahomes and the red-hot Chiefs Sunday afternoon. But perhaps something that is even more concerning for Mike Tomlin and the club is the public and nearly constant turmoil surrounding their locker room.
In the latest controversy out of Pittsburgh, star receiver Antonio Brown sounded off on Twitter after receiving criticism from former Steelers PR assistant Ryan Scarpino. After Brown posted 67 yards on 9 catches and 17 targets against Kansas City, Scarpino railed against him.
“AB needs to thank his lucky stars, because he was drafted by a team that had Ben. And Ben got AB paid,” Scarpino tweeted. “You know darn well he wouldn’t put up those numbers for other teams.”
Brown responded a day later, quoting the tweet and adding, “trade me let’s find out.”
According to Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Brown failed to report to work Monday. This comes less than 24 hours after Brown was caught arguing with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline during the game. Brown also failed to address the media after the game Sunday afternoon, slipping out of the locker room before members of the press could reach him for comment.
Brown’s outburst was just one of several early-season issues for the Steelers. Star running back Le’Veon Bell has missed the first two games of the season over a prolonged contract dispute with the team that does not look to be ending any time soon, and many of his teammates have publicly expressed frustration over his absence. As Bell’s holdout continued with the first game of the season approaching, veteran guard Ramon Foster tagged him as someone “who doesn’t give a damn.” Center Maurkice Pouncey questioned why Bell was not more transparent about his plans: “Why play hide-and-seek? Why let your agent say this? Just man up and tell us what you’re going to do.”
Adding fuel to the fire, Bell tweeted a not-so-subtle dig at the Steelers in response to their poor performance against the Browns Week 1. Pittsburgh allowed the Browns to score 14 points in the fourth quarter and force a tie. Check out Bell’s tweet here:
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) September 9, 2018
Bell later denied that he was taking a shot at his teammates.
“No shade,” Bell wrote on Twitter. “Just never witnessed a tie before.”
Fortunately for the Steelers, they will have an extra day to clean up their PR before preparing to face Ryan Fitzpatrick and the surprisingly dominant Buccaneers in Monday night’s contest.
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