On Sunday, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward went on NBC and suggested that the locker room was divided over whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should have played a week after suffering a concussion.
On Monday, Ward went on ESPN and offered a clarification.
On Tuesday, Ward went on Facebook and offered an apology, which he said is intended to amplify an apology he already gave to Roethlisberger privately.
“I just finished an extensive conversation with Ben,” Ward wrote on his Facebook page. “We spoke about the interview in which I made the #1 mistake in doing a interview, I did it based off of emotions. . . .
“So the moral of this story is not to do an interview based off of emotions and I made that mistake and I have apologized to Ben for that. Ben and I are cool and always will be. We will not let this come between us, our talk was very productive.”
But while Ward says he’s sorry for suggesting that the team wasn’t completely behind Roethlisberger, he still comes across as upset that the team didn’t find out until the day before the game that Dennis Dixon would start in Roethlisberger’s place.
“I was frustrated because there was no indication of Ben not being able to play because he practiced a normal routine this week (wed, thurs and fri),” Ward writes. “Some of the guys didn’t find out he wasn’t playing until Saturday and getting that news on the day before the big game didn’t go [too] well.
“Now as a veteran guy on the team you can see how upset that made a lot of us considering we were going down into the lions den in Baltimore without our fearless leader.”
Whether Roethlisberger can play Sunday against the Raiders will continue to be one of the major stories in the NFL this week. But Ward must be hoping his public and private apologies will be the end of this part of the story.