Fitzgerald to AB: Can get tough without a top QB

With Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers almost certainly headed for divorce, the star wide receiver faces a future without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. However, one future Hall of Famer cautioned Brown that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

“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,” Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Saturday while speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “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, the league’s active leader in receiving yards (16,279) and touchdowns (116), knows not all quarterbacks are created equal. He is entering the 16th year of a career that has been spent entirely with the Cardinals, where he has caught at least one pass from 19 different QBs.

Conversely, Brown has spent all nine of his seasons with the Steelers and Roethlisberger but expects passes in season No. 10 to come from someone not wearing a No. 7 Steelers jersey.

“I would’ve liked for me and Ben to be cool. You know what I mean? I thought we was cool. But when I think … I’ve been to his house one time. He’s been to my house one time. You know what I mean?” Brown told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington of his relationship with Roethlisberger. “We don’t work out in the offseason. You think that’s winning? That’s not winning.”

In addition to his relationship with Roethlisberger, Brown also talked about situations with coach Mike Tomlin and ownership that contributed to his desire to get out of Pittsburgh.

“Why wouldn’t they not trade me? They gotta pay me $2.5 million on March 17,” Brown told Darlington. “If I invoice you March 17, $2.5 million that you gotta pay me, would you pay it or would you get somebody else to pay it? So it’s what — pretty much what’s good for their business.”

Brown is owed a $2.5 million roster bonus if he is not traded or released by the Steelers before March 17.

The three teams that have shown the most interest in Brown to date are the Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Of those three teams, only the Raiders had one quarterback start every game last season.

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