PITTSBURGH -- Even though he apologized the previous day on social media, a downcast Antonio Brown stepped to a podium at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and told a packed media room he was sorry for broadcasting his coach's post-game commentary following the Steelers' win in Kansas City.
"I absolutely regret doing Facebook Live and this situation," Brown said. "It was a total distraction to this organization, a total distraction to my teammates. Obviously, it was disrespectful to Coach Tomlin. I have the utmost respect for Coach. I solely regret that. I just got carried away in that moment. I live for that moment. Last year, not being able to play in the Divisional Game, not being able to make the trip with the team, so I was a little bit genuinely excited in that moment."
Brown, as per his usual dealings with the media, showed up 40 minutes late for the press conference.
When the reason was uncovered, via Snapchat, that Brown was getting a haircut, reporters from the Boston area began blasting the irony in their many live TV reports from the media room, calling the series of events "A MAJOR DISTRACTION!" for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh reporters, for the most part, yawned.
One of them asked Brown if he had understood the most important message delivered by Mike Tomlin the previous day, that Brown would need to move on to another team if such incidents continued.
"Absolutely," Brown said. "Those words that he spoke, I didn’t take them lightly. That’s a big statement coming from my head coach. I don’t take those things for granted. I have to relish in those words. I am looking forward to just doing my job."
Brown was asked how difficult the week has been.
"It has been a tough week but it’s nothing I can’t handle," he said. "My kids being able to see me all over television for the wrong things, being able to see people talk about my name all over the place, ex-teammates, older players. It’s just a part of the journey. These are the things you learn from and grow from as a player. I am still a young player. I still have a lot to learn. I don’t make excuses. I take ownership for all of my actions. I will be better from this."
Ladarius Green hasn't played in the last four games and hadn't practiced in 13 days but he returned to the field Wednesday in a limited capacity.
The big tight end suffered a concussion Dec. 18 and has yet to pass an examination by an independent neurologist. But the news should be viewed as an optimistic sign for a Steelers team that might've ended Green's season after he had played in only six of the 18 games due in large part to concussion issues.
Brown, who missed last year's Division Round playoff game because of a concussion, appreciated the excitement Green must be feeling about his chances this week.
"I absolutely understand his excitement," Brown said. "You don’t know what it’s like to be a player and not be able to go out and perform with your teammates. I am sure he is going to be excited. He will definitely make a difference in regards to our offense. Definitely in the middle of the field. We are excited to have him back."
Green can't talk to reporters until he's cleared to play.
Juilian Edelman, the smarmy Patriots receiver who slammed the Steelers for Brown's indiscretion by saying "That's how that team's run," was slammed back Wednesday by Ben Roethlisberger.
"We have the trophies out there," Roethlisberger said. "We have owners that I think are the best in the business. They are family to us. And I am sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here or in the football world, or regular world, that know the Rooneys, know who they are and what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them family. I have played with guys that have come from other teams. They look shocked when they see our owners, whether it’s Mr. Dan Rooney or Mr. Art Rooney II, walking around the locker room and walking around practice. They don’t ever see their owners. We see our owners every single day. I think it’s just a blessing to know that they care about us, and that’s one of the reasons we want to go win."
Edelman, during a contentious conference call with Pittsburgh reporters, blamed the media for taking his comments out of context, but added, "I said it."
The Steelers didn't return from Kansas City until 4 a.m. Monday morning, so they effectively lost a night's sleep.
Were they sluggish at Wednesday's practice?
"Today wasn't really sluggish, but today was definitely a day to see where we are in the recuperation process," said cornerback Ross Cockrell. "We went full speed. Guys who normally practiced practiced and the guys who normally don't practice didn't practice."
Cockrell said the one guy who never seems to run out of energy is Tomlin.
"That amazes me," Cockrell said. "His energy, the preparation he brings each and every week to us, is a special thing. He's a special coach. He's the reason we are where we are now."
The players who missed Wednesday's practice: RB Le'Veon Bell (non injury related), K Chris Boswell (illness), S Sean Davis (shoulder), OL B.J. Finney (illness), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (illness), QB Zach Mettenbergr (illness), Roethlisberger (not injury related) and ILB Vince Williams (shoulder).
Green was one of three players limited. The others were OLB Anthony Chickillo (ankle) and S Mike Mitchell (non injury related).
The injured players who practiced fully were OLB James Harrison (shoulder, triceps), DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle) and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion).null