• a man wearing a hat: Associated Press? Associated Press Associated Press

    The feud between Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers dredged up a serious accusation against quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Thursday morning.

    And then, just like that, the accusation was … muddled by an apparent retraction.

    Retired Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall got into a conversation with a Twitter user about his former teammate and called Roethlisberger "a racist quarterback." He backtracked about three hours later, saying "B's not racist. Just like AB's not a dirtbag."

    Mendenhall, who played five seasons for the Steelers and left football after the 2013 season, was defending Brown, the star wide receiver who feuded with Roethlisberger both before and after forcing a trade to the Oakland Raiders.

    Mendenhall, who worked as a writer and editor on the HBO show "Ballers" and has written for Huffington Post, clarified a few hours later.

    Players leaving the Steelers organization have recently hit Roethlisberger with parting shots. Running back Le'Veon Bell told Sports Illustrated that Roethlisberger was "a factor" in his decision to leave Pittsburgh. Former Steelers and current Broncos receivers Emmanuel Sanders came to Brown's defense in one instance last season, and knocked Roethlisberger's poor leadership.

    And Brown had a number of problems with the quarterback. He felt Roethlisberger had unfair criticisms for Brown throughout the season, and that the quarterback lacked mutual respect. Roethlisberger's "owner mentality" also drove him away, Brown said on Twitter in February.

    Roethlisberger, of course, has a history of openly criticizing teammates and coaches.

    While these players have ripped into Roethlisberger, Mendenhall's comments are the first to explicitly accuse the quarterback of racism. Here's more of what Mendenhall had to say on Twitter.

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    a baseball player is getting ready to hit the ball: Arguably the biggest draft bust in NFL history made what ESPN's John Clayton referred to as "a big impression" at the 2007 combine, and Clayton also wrote: "Russell is going to be a hard talent to pass up. Few quarterbacks have entered any draft with this type of arm strength." As Sports Illustrated pointed out, ESPN personality Todd McShay added to the hype: "I can't remember being in such awe of a quarterback in my decade of attending combines and pro days. Russell's passing session was the most impressive of all the pro days I've been to." Russell made 25 starts and 31 appearances over three seasons for the Oakland Raiders, the franchise that drafted him first overall in 2007. He never caught on with a different team.?

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