The career of (perhaps) future Hall of Fame receiver Hines Ward overlapped for two years with the career of (perhaps) future Hall of Fame receiver Antonio Brown. Ward has noticed Brown’s behavior in recent weeks, and Ward isn’t afraid to share his views on the distractions Brown has created, from a sideline outburst to a Twitter tussle to not showing up for work on Monday.
“I’m a little embarrassed,” Ward told Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio, “in the sense that that’s not the Steelers culture. We’re not really big on kind of having off-the-field issues with a lot of different guys. . . . Listen, I understand he’s a passionate guy and wants to win more than anybody in the world, but in this case I kind of think he’s wrong for the outburst. When things aren’t going good, a lot of people look at the leaders on your team. . . they want to see how you respond to adversity. It’s something that I wouldn’t have done. I get it, you’re frustrated. You want to win. But having outbursts like that doesn’t do anybody any justice.”
Ward also would like to see Brown press pause of his social-media habit.
“I would like for him to just focus on football, find a way to get this thing back on track in Pittsburgh,” Ward said. “Like I said, it’s all about winning football games, and that should be the main priority in all the players’ careers.”
Getting their first win of the season should be the Steelers’ only priority for now, because a surprisingly potent Tampa Bay team is waiting for them on Monday night. But one of Brown’s priorities at some point soon may be to figure out why Ward chose to call him out publicly, given that they are former teammates — and given that Ward last year was working with the team, and rumored to be on track to become the receivers coach.
The answer may be simple: Ward likely said what he thought needed to be said, in order to help Brown get himself and the team pointed in the right direction.