“It was good for him to challenge me,” Bryant said. “I’m going to accept it.
“He’s the leader of the team. If he feels like you need to step up your game it’s his job to call you out. I’m happy he did it. It woke me up and get back to work.”
Roethlisberger publicly spoke his mind about Bryant in the wake of Bryant accounting for two receptions for 6 yards over the Steelers’ last two games, a 20-17 loss at Baltimore and a 28-12 win in Cleveland.
Bryant said he and Roethlisberger have also spoken privately.
“The conversation between me and Ben is brother to brother so I can’t really tell you about it,” Bryant said. “But he talked to me, everything’s fine.”
Bryant’s 2015 season was delayed by a four-game suspension and an injury that cost him another game.
He accounted for five receiving touchdowns in his first five games back from Oct. 18 through Nov. 15 but has just one over the last six games (Bryant also had a rushing touchdown on Nov. 29 at Seattle).
“It’s football, you have your ups and you have your downs,” Bryant said. “It’s about how you bounce back. I’m going to be ready to go.
“I don’t think he’s done it publicly but every day we go out on the field I take it as he’s calling me out,” Brown said. “I want to be the best. I want to be on the details. I want to be accountable for him and I take it as a challenge to put my will on display and make sure he has that trust.”
Brown also said he’s tried to convey that message to Bryant.
“I talk with him a lot,” Brown said. “(On Wednesday) I grabbed him after practice to catch some (balls from the) Jugs (machine). I asked him, ‘Do you want to win the Super Bowl?’ It’s a new season. The season that we just embarked upon is over. He has an opportunity to create a new identity, put some new things on tape and hold himself accountable to be counted on.
“You gotta be tough. It all starts with your mentality, your attitude, your will, what you’re willing to do for us. That’s what Ben wants to see. You show that to him in how you work, how I come to work, how I approach the meetings, how I approach walk-through, how I approach practice, how I approach the post (-practice) meetings, how I go about the game.
“A lot of actions, a little bit of words and lead him along. I think he’ll be alright. We’ll just encourage him. We know what he’s capable of doing. That’s why we’re counting on him.”