Steelers' Brown, Taylor bury hatchets
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (gold jersey) wrestles down wide receiver Antonio Brown on Sunday. The fight ensued after Taylor intercepted a pass and roughed up Brown in the end zone.
Tight end Heath Miller makes catch over top of linebacker Lawrence Timmons during workouts.
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Cornerback Ike Taylor and receiver Antonio Brown returned to Saint Vincent College on Tuesday morning two days after a nasty fight at practice Sunday, but their reconciliation took place away from this catholic campus and near their familiar environs on the South Side Monday morning.
Taylor and Brown dined together on their day off in an effort to clear the air after their second camp skirmish.
"We had breakfast yesterday, sat down for about an hour or two, ironed out our differences," said Brown at lunch break before the Tuesday afternoon practice. "We know how much we mean to this team, with him being a leader of his room and me being a young leader in our room. That's not what our organization is all about."
Fights at training camp are part of the routine, but this has been a particularly feisty camp for the Steelers. Taylor and Brown haven't been the only ones involved in fights.
On the first day the team practiced in pads, guard Willie Colon drove linebacker Lawrence Timmons to the ground, which set off offense-defense fight. A few days later, Colon and defensive end Cam Heyward got into it. At the same practice, Heyward and rookie tackle Mike Adams had a battle.
At practice Tuesday, Heyward and rookie tackle Kelvin Beachum had a shoving match that prompted coach Mike Tomlin to pull Beachum from a team drill and replace him with Kyle Jolly.
"We're all alpha males," Colon said. "We're all out here competing and fighting for our livelihoods, so things get heated. We're heading toward the end of camp and guys are kind of ready to go home and get to their families and get comfortable, so guys are on edge. Things happen. The biggest thing is we don't take it off the field. Whatever happens on the field, we leave it on the field and respect each other as brothers and men."
Even though more fights have broken out this year, Colon doesn't notice a big difference from previous camps. He is of the opinion that camp fights are a sign of hungry players looking to make their mark.
"Every camp has been like that to me," Colon said. "I think it's healthy. Anytime guys don't want to practice or compete or show what they're about, then that's the bigger issue.
"That's what makes us the Steelers. Every man is willing to compete 'til the death for a chance, for a rep, for everything. We're extremely competitive. We compete at everything. I don't think there's anything we don't compete at. When you have that type of temperament, it kind of works out for the best."
Still, there is a limit to how much fighting any team puts up at camp. General manager Kevin Colbert thought it was important enough to address the issue with Taylor and Brown after practice away from their teammates. And Brown and Taylor felt it was necessary to address their issues again Monday morning.
Brown said he is thankful that no one was seriously injured in the fight.
"I never want to be combative," Brown said. "I'm a professional football player. I'm not a UFC fighter, trying to fight guys. That's not what I'm here to do. You have to protect yourself at all times. I could have been fined. I could have broken my hand. A lot of scenarios could have been bad from that incident."
Brown and Taylor were asked why they have been at odds this camp, but they did not divulge any secrets, if there are any. Some have reasoned that part of it stems from the fact that Brown was awarded a long-term contract while Taylor's good friend, Mike Wallace, was not.
Wallace has not reported to camp to sign his one-year tender from the Steelers. Brown downplayed that theory, though.
"I don't think it does," Brown said. "We're a band of brothers. We all care about each other. We all want the best for each other. Nothing is personal. It's just the heat of moment in battle.
"In the heat of the moment, we let our emotions get the best of us. But, at the end of the day, that's my brother not just on the field but off the field. We have a great relationship with each other that goes beyond that one incident."
Taylor said he and Brown are on good terms.
"Brothers get into it," Taylor said. "That's how it is sometimes. Up here in Latrobe, we're tired of seeing each other. We're two highly competitive guys. When you have the same blood type, things are bound to happen. But me and AB are cool."
• Game: Steelers vs. indianapolis Colts, Heinz Field.
• When: 8 p.m. Sunday.
• TV: WPXI.
First Published August 15, 2012 12:00 am