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Big Ben: Officials target Antonio Brown at times for celebration penalties

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By Jason Rowan

The Pittsburgh Steelers apparently have had discussions with Antonio Brown over the flags being thrown his way over post-touchdown celebrations.

But Ben Roethlisberger on Tuesday suggested the NFL might occasionally target Brown for his celebrations, especially during big games.

Brown was again flagged during the Steelers’ 28-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Thanksgiving night for a choreographed dance with Le’Veon Bell. It marked the third time this season he’s been penalized for a post-touchdown celebration.

Brown previously was penalized in a Week 1 game against the Washington Redskins and a Week 4 tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs, both times for his patented twerking celebration moves.

“A lot,” Big Ben said on his weekly radio show when asked if Brown is targeted by officials, per CBS Sports. “I know for a fact that he scores touchdowns at 1 o’clock games that aren’t the big time games and they haven’t flagged him. I just think that it was him, it was Bell, it was Thanksgiving. I think (the officials) were put on notice. Those are two of the biggest names in the sport, so when do something things can happen.

“I knew that that (a celebration penalty) was gonna happen at some point. I think it was the Washington game, AB and DeAngelo (Williams) did a little dance coming off the field, and I know the ref said something to us. It’s a prime time game, everyone is watching.”

Roethlisberger nevertheless called out Brown for his end-zone antics, saying the wide receiver has to be more cognizant of the harm those penalties inflict upon the team, something Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed as well.

“He knows, we all know, Coach Tomlin brought it up yesterday, that is a huge penalty and we can’t do that,” Roethlisberger said, via ESPN. “We put our kick coverage team in a bad situation and we can’t have that, and AB knows that.”

Tomlin, as he has previously done when addressing distractions caused by Brown, downplayed the need to make the celebration issue too big of an issue.

“We had a setback in that area, but I don’t think it requires additional discussion,” Tomlin said.