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Ben Roethlisberger defends criticizing Antonio Brown over ‘distraction’

Ben Roethlisberger has no regrets over publicly calling out Antonio Brown over a sideline meltdown during last Sunday’s 26-9 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. In fact the Pittsburgh Steelers veteran signal-caller argues it’s his duty to do so as a team leader.

Brown was caught on camera throwing a Gatorade cooler before a confrontation with Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

The outburst stemmed from Roethlisberger missing a wide-open Brown over the middle on a play that likely would have went for a touchdown.

Roethlisberger on Tuesday cited Brown’s histrionics on the sideline as a “distraction.” The Steelers signal-caller added he was “disappointed” over Brown’s antics. On Wednesday, Big Ben defended calling out Brown over his behavior.

“I like to think as a leader of this team, it’s kind of my job,” Roethlisberger said, via TribLive.com. “You have to be able to talk to people and communicate in different ways.”

Roethlisberger declined to confirm whether or not he has had a one-on-one conversation with Brown over the incident. But between his comments this week and what Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had to say about what transpired, Roethlisberger is confident Brown got the message.

“I”m sure,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s professional. He’s probably the best wide receiver in the game.”

It would be best now that the air has been cleared for all intents and purposes for the Steelers to move on from it, says Roethlisberger. The Steelers (3-1) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) Sunday at Heinz Field.

“We’re over it now,” Roethlisberger said. “We’ve moved on to Jacksonville. Wednesday is (the start of) Jacksonville week. … We don’t have time to think about anything else right now.”

Brown has since apologized for his actions, taking to Twitter to issue a mea culpa.

With Brown’s tweet, it certainly does appear that all parties involved are “over it now,” as Roethlisberger suggested.