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Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger: Antonio Brown doesn’t want trade

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks at the big screen as the Chiefs take the lead again over the Steelers Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 at Heinz Field.

When Antonio Brown sent out a tweet in which he said “trade me,” he did it out of frustration and doesn’t actually want to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At least that is the opinion of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Speaking on his weekly 93.7-FM radio segment, Roethlisberger responded to Brown’s controversial tweet from Monday morning.

“I don’t think he wants traded,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ll speak to him (Wednesday) and maybe I’ll have a different answer for you, but I think it’s the competitor in him, a guy who is still fired up. I think he enjoys being here.”

Brown’s tweet – the full context was “trade me let’s find out” – was in response to a tweet by former Steelers public relations staffer Ryan Scarpino that said the All-Pro receiver owes much of his success to Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger, who does not have social media accounts, said Scarpino’s assertion was not true.

“I’m a much better football player because of Antonio Brown,” he said. “I owe him a lot of my success and many other players I’ve played with.”

Brown came under criticism for engaging offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline during the second half of the Steelers’ 42-37 loss Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs. Brown caught nine passes for 67 yards but was third on the team in receiving yards behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Jesse James.

Brown also appeared to pout after Roethlisberger ran in for a touchdown with 1:59 left in the lead that cut the deficit to five points.

“I think it was just frustration,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s a competitor and he wants to be the best in the world and he probably is the best in the world. He wants to make every play, catch every ball, get every touchdown which is what every great player wants to do.

“He was frustrated. He took it out on some people. I give Randy a lot of credit for not losing it on him. It’s just one of those things where in the heat of the battle and you’re losing the football game it’s tough on anybody.”

Roethlisberger has targeted Brown 33 times but has completed just 18 of those attempts.

Roethlisberger attributed it to his inaccuracy and the fact Brown continues to draw double and sometimes triple coverage.

“There’s lots of guys on him and it’s probably me not being as accurate with the ball throwing it plays when I need to,” Roethlisberger said. “There’s time I’ve forced a couple balls to him. … I’ll take the blame for the low completion percentage to him, but I’m not worried about our chemistry.”

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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