Steelers star wideout Antonio Brown was inactive for his team's Week 17 contest against the Bengals because of a skirmish he had with a teammate, and not because of an injury, according to a report published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Despite him being out, the Steelers won the game 16-13, but they ended up missing the playoffs anyway because the Ravens held on to beat the Browns (and thus win the AFC North) by a score of 26-24.
The Post-Gazette claims that sources said Brown sat out this past week of practice after having "an unspecified heated dispute" with a teammate. This "heated dispute" happened on Wednesday morning's walk-through, and involved Brown angrily throwing a football at one of his teammates. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora went on to report that the teammate in question was Ben Roethlisberger, and that Brown was "totally in the wrong":
After the dust-up sources say Brown chose not to participate in practice. Furthermore they say that he skipped Saturday's walk-through, and later missed a Saturday night meeting at the team hotel. Multiple sources added that he left the team's game against Cincinnati at halftime.
Brown had arrived to Sunday's game expecting to play, which reportedly surprised several teammates. The Post-Gazette adds that one unnamed Steelers player labeled the situation "embarrassing" and "the worst I’ve seen."
Brown had been listed on the injury report as "questionable" prior to the contest. When he failed to practice on Wednesday it was officially due to a "coach's decision." That was upgraded (?) to a "coach's decision/knee" on Thursday. Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was questioned about Brown on Thursday and responded by saying "I’m not going to answer any questions about Antonio. Next."
Despite Sunday's absence, Brown finished the year with 104 catches for 1,297 yards, and also set a team record with an NFL leading 15 touchdown catches.