The Pittsburgh Steelers' season came to a screeching halt Sunday in a humiliating 36-17 loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The defense was exposed by a nearly flawless Tom Brady, while Antonio Brown was kept under wraps by double- and triple teams defensively.
Brown was the focus all week thanks to a Facebook Live video from the Steelers locker room that put him squarely in the media's crosshairs. He drew a stern comment about being "selfish" from coach Mike Tomlin, who also pointed out that the decision could impact Brown's future in Pittsburgh.
That comment, which was buried in Tomlin's angry discussion of Brown's decision, seems poignant now with a report from Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network that there are people in Pittsburgh worried Brown cares too much about his own stats because Brown was pouting throughout the AFC title game.
"Antonio Brown was open in the back of the end zone. He hung his head after that touchdown," Kinkhabwala reported on NFL Network on Tuesday morning. "He was the last player to walk off the field. Ben Roethlisberger had to meet him at the sideline and then talk to him for a few minutes."
Later on the channel Kinkhabwala added that "this is nothing new" with Brown, who was told to "stop chasing statistics" by Tomlin last year.
From her report:
"I was sitting with Hines Ward ... we were sitting next to each other last night, DeAngelo Williams scores the Steelers first touchdown. Antonio Brown was wide open in the back of the end zone and he pouted. Guys, he pouted! His team just scored a touchdown and he was upset that he was wide open and Roethlisberger didn't go to him. Roethlisberger was then waiting on the sideline, Brown was the last player off the field. Roethlisberger had to talk to him.
"Instead of those minutes next to Todd Haley ... he had to sit and worry about Antonio Brown's ego."
These reports are not unfounded. The week of the AFC Championship Game centered on Brown. Brown has said he cares more about a Super Bowl title than he does about statistics, but he has also continued to make members of the Steelers angry with his post-touchdown celebrations and on-field antics.
The superstar wideout is one of the best in the game, but with just a year remaining on his contract, it sounds as if the Steelers are growing a little weary of his non-football behavior.