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Big Ben on Antonio Brown tantrum: 'It's unfortunate'

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Steelers wideout Antonio Brown's sideline Gatorade jug toss was a display of frustration grand enough to ensure that all of Brown's coaches and teammates would probably be asked about it sometime this week.

Ben Roethlisberger, who missed an open Brown on Sunday against the Ravens to trigger the reaction, said he wished it would have gone down differently.

"He got upset because he was open, which I can understand, sometimes that happens. It's not like I intentionally missed him, it's not like I intentionally didn't throw it to him," Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh. "I was doing what my reads tell me to do, I don't even want to say I made a mistake, because I was reading the side I was supposed to read. It's just unfortunate that it happened, and it's unfortunate that he acted and reacted that way."

He added: "I told him on the sideline, 'A.B., just come talk to me, ask me what happened, tell me that you were open.' You know, if that were Heath Miller, I'd probably ask Heath on the sideline, 'Hey Heath, were you open?' and he'd probably tell me 'No,' because he wouldn't want you to feel bad, that's just who he was ... that goes a lot further than throwing a temper tantrum."

Head coach Mike Tomlin also addressed Brown's actions at the podium Tuesday:

"It can be [a distraction]," Tomlin said. "I didn't see it on Sunday. I heard about it after. You know, A.B. is a competitor. And we all know and understand that. It aids him, it aids us. But we've got to control it. He has to control it. If he does not, it can work against him. It can work against us. Those are some lessons you learn along the way. Sunday was a big game, obviously for a lot of reasons. Emotions are capable of getting away from you. It doesn't need to happen, it shouldn't happen. Hopefully it won't moving forward. Hopefully he's learned a lesson through that.

"Hopefully others have learned a lesson through that. I think that's one of the things that you really have to focus on when you talk about something like that. We've got young people on our team, they need to be taught good things, good lessons, ways to conduct themselves as professionals. We all make mistakes. He made a mistake. I'm sure he's ready to move on from it. But I also think there's a lesson to be learned or a lesson to be taught there and I hope he addresses that element of it as well as he moves forward."

Speaking on Good Morning Football on Wednesday, Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward, however, wasn't too perturbed by Brown's sideline antics.

"It's A.B. It's one play. I'm not going to let one little incident like that affect how much work he puts in, how much he cares about this game," Heyward said. "A.B. is a heck of a competitor. I've never seen someone work as hard as he does. If you get mad -- and it might have gotten a little carried away -- but if you get mad, it just shows that you care. I know he felt a little bit remorseful about it, but I'm looking forward to him putting up big stats like he always does."

Both Brown, who couched his actions as evidence of his passion, and the Steelers are borrowing from the Giants' playbook on Odell Beckham and the playbook the Patriots might have used if they were ever grilled about Tom Brady's history of sideline kicking and screaming. Basically: This is one of our best players, and if it's not costing us points or wins, it's something from which we can learn and move on.

And really, what's the harm in just letting it go? Those who do not play football for a living might have a hard time understanding just how easily frustration can simmer and eventually boil over the course of a work week. The best players can keep their cool but no one is immune to a career without one or two eruptions. Brown got his out of the way and Pittsburgh is still 3-1. It could have been a lot worse.

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