LATROBE, Pa. -- Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders were teammates for four seasons with the Steelers and remain good friends, but Brown took issue with Sanders calling Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning a "far better leader" than Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger earlier this week.
"That was terrible," Brown said Wednesday. "You don't throw your quarterback under the bus, the guy who makes you who you are."
Roethlisberger and Sanders played together from 2010 to 2013 and the latter signed with the Denver Broncos last March as an unrestricted free agent.
Sanders told 104.3 The Fan Denver on Monday that Manning works tirelessly with the wide receivers after practice and that he doesn't have to "chase down" the five-time NFL MVP to put in extra time together.
The remarks caused a stir and Sanders stood by them when he addressed what he said later on his Twitter account.
I never said Ben wasn't a leader... I just said Peyton is a better one. I have nothing but respect for Ben as a man and as a player. #truth
- Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) July 28, 2014Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who played two seasons with Roethlisberger, defended his former quarterback during an appearance on ESPN's "First Take" earlier this week.
"It's not that Ben doesn't lead. He just leads differently than Peyton does," said Bettis, who is an ESPN NFL analyst. "I think [Sanders] misunderstood what leadership is and he misspoke it and I think it was a little bit of a jab. I think if he had a chance he'd take it back."
Brown, who set a Steelers single-season record with 1,499 receiving yards last season, said he hasn't talked to Sanders since his Manning-Roethlisberger comparison.
"Right now I'm just singularly focused on our team, getting better and winning," said Brown, who was drafted by the Steelers in 2010, the same year as Sanders. "When things happen like that ... I don't know. Emmanuel's my guy and I'm sure he feels sorry for those words that he put out."