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Tomlin confirms Antonio Brown's Monday absence

The drama that began Sunday with Antonio Brown doesn't appear to be slowing.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that the star receiver did not show up at the team's facility for work on Monday. The coach didn't provide further details and would not say whether Brown was excused from activities Monday.

"I'm looking forward to visiting with him today and discussing that and some other things," Tomlin said, when asked about the Brown report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'm not going to get into the details of why he wasn't here [or if he was] excused. I just assume leave those things in house.

"I understand sometimes we got some negativity. We lost some football games. There was some negative exchanges on the sideline, that frustration associated with not playing well and not winning -- I understand all that. There's opportunities for us to respond to it particularly the early portions of the year to utilize negative experiences ... to educate our team."

On Sunday, Brown got into a verbal spat with Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner during Pittsburgh's 42-37 loss, and the receiver left the stadium before reporters were allowed in the locker room. On Monday, Brown replied to a critic (and former Steelers employee) by asking to be traded as a test of the criticism of his value to the team.

Tomlin also said Brown has not asked to be traded, almost chuckling while answering.

Brown caught nine passes for 67 yards, finishing third on the team in receiving yards in the loss to Kansas City.

Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus released a statement Tuesday morning:

"The tweet yesterday was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows," Rosenhaus said, via NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. "It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be traded. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate. Antonio had a personal matter. I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That's all that that is. That's not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that's what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did his best to defuse the situation while appearing on Pittsburgh sports radio Monday.

"He's a competitor and he wants to be the best in the world and he probably is the best in the world and he wants to make every play and catch every ball and every touchdown, which is what every player wants to do," Roethlisberger said during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan. "You know he took it out on some people and I give Randy (Fichtner) a lot of credit for not losing it on him, but you know it's just one of those things that I think in the heat of the battle and you're losing the football game, it's just tough on anybody.

"I don't I think he just . . . just another reason why I don't do social media right? Guys get under your skin and find a way to do it. I don't think he wants to be traded. I'll speak with him tomorrow and maybe I'll have a different answer after that but I don't think that."

Brown's social media use has caused drama in the past, as have his sideline tantrums. He's just part of a Steelers franchise that has seen its share of social media-fueled problems in the last two years.

When asked about those problems, Tomlin deflected.

"Again like I said last week, I'm not going to openly talk about a lot of that that occurs on social media. We could be chasing that always," Tomlin said. "I will say this -- it's important that we understand our position, the light shined on us and the responsibility that comes with it. [There's] been a couple of instances now where you've asked me about Antonio, regarding social media-like things. I will address it very direct with him but I'll leave that between he and I."

Tomlin went on to explain that he preferred to address "football things," like defensive lapses that allowed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to throw six touchdown passes.

Safe to say, there's plenty to sort out in Pittsburgh ahead of the Steelers' Monday night meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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