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Antonio Brown backs Roethlisberger: 'That's my guy'

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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Incendiary comments have often been the centerpiece of an often tumultuous season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Preseason favorites for some prognosticators to reach the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh has seen Le'Veon Bell's never-ending story of a holdout, Antonio Brown's sideline anger and ill-advised tweets, early season struggles and most recently Ben Roethlisberger's stance on critiquing teammates color a roller-coaster campaign for the black and yellow.

In what is likely a somewhat surprising turn of events for some, though, Brown's retort to Roethlisberger's words were supportive to say the least.

"We have a lot of good history together -- and we will continue to make history," said Brown, via Triblive.com. "We have that relationship where we challenge each other, we encourage each other. That's the situation you wanna have with your quarterback.

"I got big shoulders. I can take it. Constructive criticism [is] only for you to get better. It's only made to challenge, only made to make you better. And that's my guy."

Roethlisberger spoke negatively about Brown's route running in last week's loss to the Broncos, while adding more throws should go to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Rather than respond negatively, Brown seemed to say all the right things on Friday.

"In the world we live in today, I think controversy is celebrated a lot," he said. "People try to put people against each other, bring people down. But we all need each other. There's power in unity and people coming together, and not in people fighting and bringing each other down."

The team-first approach seems almost novel coming from a top-flight receiver, but Brown professed his feelings for Roethlisberger, his longtime teammate and the Steelers' captain.

"It's not personal the way you guys [in the media] make it," Brown said. "You guys make big stories. That's my guy. I love him. I got his back no matter what's said. Everything he said is gonna encourage us to get better."

Sitting at 7-3-1 and atop the AFC North standings, the Steelers will host the Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) on Sunday night in a prime time tilt in which all eyes will be on Brown, Big Ben and a Steelers team that has been mercurial on the field and circus-like off of it.

With Brown offering up a unified front and team-first comments, maybe the right approach off the field will lend itself to the right outcome on the field.

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