When the 2018 season began, the Pittsburgh Steelers knew there was a chance that they could lose one superstar in the near future, Le’Veon Bell. But now it is starting to look like the team could be down another by time training camp begins for the 2019 season—wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Team President Art Rooney II recently spoke with the Pittsburgh Gazette and made it clear he thinks Brown’s time with the Steelers could be over:
“…We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table….”
He went on to say that the team is open to reconciling with their superstar wide receiver, but that he doesn’t see Brown being with the team when training camp starts.
BREAKING: Steelers president Art Rooney II said he s not going to release Antonio Brown, but “all other options are on the table.” He would not say Steelers are going to trade their All-Pro receiver, but left no doubt that is a strong possibility. Story coming soon on PG site.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 10, 2019
Brown’s antics have been in the news in the past and widely talked about during talk shows and in social media. His behavior seemed to hit a new level during the final week of the regular season and the week after when he had a blow-up at practice.
He also skipped a few practices and meetings before and after the season finale—which he was suspended for.
It isn’t the first time that Brown has had trouble getting along with the front office and head coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers generally like to keep the drama in-house, but this time it has spilled over into the media.
There have been reports that Brown has requested a trade. But there have also been reports that he has not requested a trade. If the Steelers were to try to trade him, the asking price would be astronomical and totally worth it.
Brown has had 100+ receptions in each of the last six years (along with 1200+ yards in each). He has averaged 10+ touchdown catches over the last six years and set a new career high this season with 15.
He will turn 31 before next season, but there is no reason to think he doesn’t have several more quality years left in him. But not only could teams balk over the asking price but Brown has three years left on his $68 million extension.
So if the Steelers are set on getting rid of him like Rooney makes it sound, it is not going to be easy.