There's no love lost between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Whether it's a bloodbath on the field or a war of words off it, the Bengals and Steelers have made it clear throughout the years, and especially this year, that they don't like each other. But this heated rivalry between AFC North foes is starting to reach new heights.
Hopefully, we've already seen the worst of this rivalry during this past season's three meetings between them. The worst came in the Wild Card round in a game that featured several brutal hits, the worst of which arguably being Vontaze Burfict's shot on All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown.
As you can imagine, Brown is still upset with that hit, which ultimately led to him missing Pittsburgh's Divisional Round loss to Denver. Instead of continuing on in the playoffs, Brown is sitting around having to talk about it and what could have been as he and the Steelers sit at home.
Perhaps that's part of why Brown sounded so upset during an interview with 93.7 The Fan. "Guys don't want to stop me anymore. They want to take me out. They want to kill me." Brown said when asked about the hit Vontaze Burfict put on him in the fourth quarter. "They want to steal my dreams. They want to ruin me. They want to end me, but we're not gonna let them. What we are gonna do is win more."
Brown also appeared on the Dan Patrick Show today where he said if he could tell Burfict anything, he'd tell him, "he's an idiot." He also said Burfict and Adam Jones cost the Bengals the playoff game.
Here's Burfict's hit that knocked Brown out of the game and led to the Pro Bowl linebacker earning a three-game suspension.
It was questionable hit at best, but it was just one of several big hits both teams put on each other.
Case in point being Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier's KO shot on running back Giovani Bernard:
So when guys like Brown complain about these kinds of hits, it's easy to see where he's coming from, but he must also acknowledge that it goes both ways. He can't say Burfict wanted to end his career and then turn a blind eye to guys like Shazier or hard-hitting safety Mike Mitchell who took out Tyler Eifert and caused him to miss time just weeks earlier.
It doesn't end there though for Brown. He says he hasn’t made peace with Bengals cornerback Adam Jones for saying Brown was faking the injury. Jones said he would apologize to Brown if Brown could not play against the Broncos, which he did on social media, but Brown wasn’t pleased with that.
"No, the guy text me, no reply. I don’t even know why people give him a platform to say something, ridiculous," Brown said.
Brown said he wasn't close to being able to play in the Divisional Round against the Broncos, but he may need a lesson in concussion recovery. Being in a loud locker room (or any loud and bright place) jumping up and down and dancing with your teammates, as it was well documented all over social media that he did, can worsen a concussion (especially one that occurred just minutes before) and prolong the recovery time.
If this were a player on most NFL teams, maybe all of this whining would be valid. But when you're the Steelers player, a team with cheap-shot artist after cheap-shot artist and even a few cheaters to boot, please spare me your holier than thou attitude.