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Green: 'You can't plan for stuff like that'

Frustrating season: When Ladarius Green signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent last offseason, his first year in black and gold wasn't supposed to be like this.

Green missed time early in the season with an ankle injury, came back strong in the second half, and then a concussion sidelined him late and for the postseason.

Take a look at the best photos from the AFC Championship against the Patriots. The Patriots defeated the Steelers 36-17.

"It was very frustrating," said Green. "Once I got going in the middle of the season I was excited, I was happy to be out there. You can't plan for stuff like that. I had a setback. It was a frustrating season, but everyone has one. I hope this is the only one I have.

"It was one of those years. It seems like every player has one where things just don't go right. Hopefully next year works out better than this year did."

Green wants to come back next season stronger than ever, and like he did when he was healthy, do whatever he can to help the team.

"I am going to do what I do every offseason, go back and train and work and try to get ready for next year," said Green.

Green said that his concussion isn't a concern heading into the offseason, and there are no plans for retirement because of concussion issues.

"I talked to all of the doctors," said Green. "They reassured me. I am not too worried about that or focused on it."

Not in the plans: This isn't the way today was supposed to be. Had all gone according to plan, it would have been a day filled with planning and preparation for Super Bowl LI. Instead, it was a day of making offseason plans, cleaning out lockers, and saying goodbye, some of which could be final goodbyes.

The Steelers had their final team meeting of the season on Monday, and then it was time to start gathering their belongings and heading to their offseason destinations.

"Every good thing comes to an end," said William Gay.

It was an end, though, you could feel they weren't ready for. They wanted more, you could still see it in their eyes, and their expressions told a lot. But it wasn't to be after a 36-17 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

While there was disappointment, there was also a resolve to come back stronger.

"When you look back on the season it was a heck of a run," said Gay. "A lot of hard work put into it. That is why this day stinks. You put so much work into the season, preparation each and every week, and you come to this point.

"You have to tell yourself to get over it and press forward."

Lesson learned: Alejandro Villanueva said he had a different outlook going into the postseason this year, after experiencing losing in the Divisional Round to Denver last year and seeing the impact that had. He said he learned a lot from that loss, and hopes that the young players on the team this year learn from the loss to the Patriots, understanding it's not easy to get so close to your goals, and when you do you have to seize the moment.

"The repercussions of losing a playoff game is, when all the hopes and dreams of the entire season and starting over again," said Villanueva. "Hopefully they will learn something. I learned something as well. As a team we got better. It doesn't matter in the NFL. We don't know who will be back next year, who will be here, who will play. It's going to be challenging next year."

His view: It was a tough postseason for Cameron Heyward, who spent it as a spectator on injured reserve after suffering a torn pectoral muscle against the Dallas Cowboys in November. Heyward would have loved to have been on the field with his teammates on Sunday against the Patriots, and his presence might have had the Steelers attack them differently.

"We needed more pressure," said Heyward. "It was a little bit inconsistent. They did some things, they converted. You tip your hat to them."

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