Friday’s roundup: Antonio Brown won’t play for Steelers
Pittsburgh — Antonio Brown will miss the first playoff game of his career Sunday when Pittsburgh travels to Denver in the divisional round.
The four-time Pro Bowler and one of the league’s most electric players is out with a concussion sustained in the final minute of last week’s wild-card victory over Cincinnati. The injury deprives the Steelers of their MVP against the league’s best defense, one he lit up for 189 yards and two touchdowns in a comeback victory a month ago.
Yet, the Steelers insist they can get by without him. Having an apparently healthy-ish Ben Roethlisberger helps. The quarterback is officially questionable with a sprained right shoulder but threw the ball well in practice on Friday, according to teammates.
“We’ve all leaned on him in the past, but it creates an opportunity for us,” receiver Markus Wheaton said Friday.
Pittsburgh hasn’t had to face this situation since a sprained ankle forced Brown to skip three games in 2012. Then, he was an overachieving sixth-round pick from Central Michigan. Now he’s arguably one of the NFL’s most unguardable. ook for no further than 355 receptions since the start of the 2013 season as proof.
Heading to Denver without him is less than ideal, yet it’s a challenge Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Sammie Coates believe they’re ready to embrace. None have played a game in Pittsburgh without Brown.
And while not having his familiar No. 84 in the huddle will be weird, it won’t be the end of the world.
“To not see him be there with us, we’ve got to do some bigger things that we haven’t done before to show him that we’ve got his back,” said Coates, a rookie who caught all of one pass in limited playing time.
Cincinnati cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones apologized for claiming Brown was faking a concussion.
“They still got a bunch of speed, a bunch of talented guys on the field,” Denver cornerback Aqib Talib said. “And they still got Ben Roethlisberger. So, we know we’ve still got to do our part.”
Steelers coaches fined
Two Steelers coaches and a player were fined by the NFL for confrontations with Cincinnati players last weekend.
Offensive line coach Mike Munchak and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter were each fined $10,000. Munchak was fined for a sideline confrontation with Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. Porter was fined for being on the field at the end of the fourth quarter.
Offensive lineman Ramon Foster was fined $17,363 for a leg whip during the game.
Three Bengals players received fines. Cornerback Adam Jones was fined $28,940. Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry was fined $8,681 for unnecessary roughness for shoving Porter from behind.
Fellow defensive lineman Domata Peko (Michigan State) was fined $8,681 for coming off the bench and shoving Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was not fined for knocking Bengals running back Gio Bernard with a helmet-to-helmet hit that wasn’t penalized.
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari has been listed as probable for tonight’s road game against the Cardinals. He has missed the last three games with an ankle injury.
Two cornerbacks are listed as questionable — starter Sam Shields is recovering from a concussion, while Quinten Rollins has a quadriceps injury.
Former Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer is putting his ring from the first Super Bowl up for auction.
Green Bay Press Gazette Media reports the ring is one of 60 items Kramer is selling through Heritage Auctions. The other items include Kramer’s game-used jersey from Super Bowl I and his Packers Hall of Fame ring.
... Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe agreed to a four-year extension.
Wolfe was selected in the second round in 2012.