Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caused a bit of a storm this week with his actions both on and off the field. From venting on the sidelines to a curious exchange on social media to failing to report to work on Monday, Brown has been the target of widespread criticism over the past few days.
Add Steelers legend and former teammate Hines Ward to that list.
"I'm a little embarrassed," Ward said in an interview with 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."
Brown was disciplined by Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin for failing to be at the team's facility on Monday, one day after he appeared to be directing his ire toward offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner during Pittsburgh's 42-37 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs .
The six-time Pro Bowl selection then offered a curious "trade me" response to a critical tweet from former Steelers public relation staffer Ryan Scarpino on social media the following day while he was a surprising no-show at team headquarters.
Brown met with the media on Thursday and attempted to calm the waters, claiming that he is merely frustrated by the team's 0-1-1 start to the season and reiterating he has no desire to be traded.
Ward, who spent his entire career with the Steelers and retired after the 2011 season with 1,000 career receptions, said he can understand Brown's emotions -- to a point.
"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," said Ward. "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."
The NFL leader with 1,533 receiving yards in 2017, Brown has been a big part of Pittsburgh's offense in the first two games. He has a team-high 33 targets and 18 catches, although he is averaging a career-low 8.9 yards per reception.
Brown has recorded 100-plus-catch seasons in each of the last five years. He also has eclipsed 1,200 receiving yards while reeling in eight or more touchdown passes in every season during that stretch.
So while Hines has little reason to critique Brown's production, he did offer a suggestion to his former teammate -- curb the use of social media.
"I would like for him to just focus on football , find a way to get this thing back on track in Pittsburgh," said Ward. "Like I said, it's all about winning football games, and that should be the main priority in all the players' careers."