Fitzgerald is one of the classiest players in NFL history, which is in stark contrast to some of his fellow receivers.
The only reason he’s not better known is that, aside from a magical two-year run in 2008 and 2009 with Kurt Warner, Fitzgerald’s quarterbacks have ranged from just OK to abjectly atrocious.
The lack of star quarterbacks throwing to Fitzgerald almost makes his 16,279 career receiving yards even more impressive than they already are.
Given his class and his past quarterback experiences, Fitzgerald becomes especially qualified to offer some advice to the NFL’s premier disgruntled receiver, Antonio Brown.
Brown, who was drafted by and has played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Steelers, seems to have burned all of his bridges on his way out of the Steel City.
One of the primary reasons he so desperately wants to get out of Pittsburgh?
His six-time Pro-Bowl quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
When asked about his frayed relationship with Roethlisberger on Twitter, Brown said the quarterback has an “owner mentality” and “can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game.”
No conflict just a matter of respect! Mutual respect! He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game. #truth https://t.co/MsSyBVd3Ny
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 16, 2019
Brown, who has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Roethlisberger’s ability to throw the football, seems intent to break away from the only team he’s ever suited up for.
Fitzgerald, speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, thinks Brown should really think about what he’s pushing for.
“I love AB. Mr. Big Chest is a good friend of mine, but I don’t think he’s going about it the right way, personally,” Fitzgerald said, according to ESPN.
Why is Fitzgerald so worried about “Mr. Big Chest”? Quarterback play.
“To be able to play with an all-time quarterback like he’s able to play with, I don’t think he understands how good he has it. It can get tough out there,” Fitzgerald said.
He hit the nail on the head.
Take all the petulance, theatrics and egos out of the equation, and you’re left with a receiver who is in his prime begging to get away from a quarterback with a proven track record. That just doesn’t make sense.
Beyond that, who’s to say that Brown’s life will get any better with a different quarterback? He and Roethlisberger have nine years’ worth of chemistry and experience together. With the rarest of exceptions, that’s not something that can be easily recreated.
To be clear, Roethlisberger is no saint. As ESPN notes, Roethlisberger was twice accused of sexual assault in 2009 and 2010. Although he wasn’t convicted, the NFL suspended him for six games (eventually reduced to four games) for his conduct.
But not once has Brown complained about Roethlisberger’s alleged misdeeds. The star receiver’s issues stem from an oversized ego. His trade demand could be ruinous, or at least detrimental, to his career.
Fitzgerald is trying to get that through his friend’s head. It doesn’t seem like it’ll happen, which means Brown will have to learn firsthand that the grass isn’t always greener.
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