LATROBE – Round 3 of Ike Taylor vs. Antonio Brown took place Monday, but it wasn't on the practice fields at St. Vincent College.
Instead, it was a peace gathering at a joint called Caffe Davio on Pittsburgh's South Side.
“We're cool, we're cool,” Taylor proclaimed Tuesday on his way to lunch.
“We've been competing against each other every day out here for two weeks,” Brown said. “Guys get aggressive, competing against each other every day. Those are the type of things that happen in camp, but at the end of the day, we're on the same team and we go to bat for each other.”
The battle erupted twice on Sunday, when Taylor intercepted a pass intended for Brown and reacted angrily when Brown tried to slap the ball from Taylor's grasp. They were separated the second time by Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, who has likely been in a tougher situation before, but probably can't remember when.
“In the heat of the moment, we let emotions get the best of us,” Brown said. “But at the end of the day, that's my brother, not just on the field, but off the field. We've got a good relationship with each other. This is just one incident.”
“Brothers get into it,” was Taylor's way of explaining it. “We settled it. That's how it is sometimes up here in Latrobe, getting tired of seeing each other. We're two highly competitive type of guys. When you've got the same blood type, things are bound to happen.
“But we're cool now. We went down to Caffe Davio, got some breakfast.”
“I picked up the bill,” Brown added.
Taylor went on to explain how, in a roundabout way, the new CBA keeps these types of skirmishes to a minimum.
“With the old CBA, when we had two practices a day in full pads, there was a lot more of this type of thing,” he said. “Now, with just one practice a day, it's easier to keep emotions in check.”
And, yes, both players admitted that going against each other daily, even only once a day, makes both players better.
“I've been saying since AB first walked on the field that he's special,” Taylor said. “Just a guy of that caliber, crisp routes, hungry, he's proven what he can do on the field. I just watched him grow. I think of AB like a little brother of mine.”
“Definitely, he's a great player,” Brown said of Taylor. “He always takes the best wide receiver on the opposing team every week. I try to make it tough for him competing against me and it's definitely tough for me competing against him.
“When two highly competitive guys get together, the end result sometimes is a fight, but we've got to be smart because we're not fighters, we're football players.”