This was the year of abandoning ship in Pittsburgh.
Antonio Brown is obviously ready to move on from the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you’ve been paying attention, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. I mean, he asked for a trade on Tuesday so that sort of solidifies it right there.
It might be the best thing for both parties. Brown has been a headache for the organization, despite his prolific production. Because of his magnificence and unrivaled production as a wide receiver, he always gets a pass when he wilds out. It’s to the point now that he doesn’t even know when he’s flipping. It’s become acceptable behavior.
In 2017, when he violated the code and put a recording on Facebook of Tomlin calling out the Patriots in a closed locker room speech, all it did was provide the mighty Pats with inspiration, resulting in a 36-17 whipping in the AFC Championship game.
When Brown dared the team to trade him in September via Twitter, he got a pass.
Trade me let’s find out https://t.co/4OeepI78zy
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) September 17, 2018
When he threatend ESPN reporter Jesse Washington at a practice he got a pass.
When he became the subject of two lawsuits in October after allegedly throwing furniture and other items off a 14th-floor balcony at his Miami apartment complex in April and nearly striking a child, he got a pass.
When he expressed his displeasure with how Pittsburgh was handling the Le’Veon Bell holdout — refusing to side with his teammates against Bell — he got a pass.
When Brown had a squabble with Ben Roethlisberger at practice last Wednesday and threw a football at the quarterback and then didn’t return to practice for the remainder of the week or show up to the team’s Saturday meeting, he got a pass.
Not knowing anything personally about the situation, I’d say that Brown is trying to force his way out of town.
Freedom of expression aside, some of his actions have been classless and insubordinate and heavily criticized by teammates. This was the year of abandoning ship in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have long been recognized as a flagship NFL organization that cares about its players. At the same time, the organization has been accused of being cheap with the cash in recent years.
Le’veon Bell held out the entire season because he felt like Pittsburgh didn’t want to pay him what he weighs. You gotta respect that.
Brown, however, is the second-highest paid receiver in the game behind OBJ. His absence from Sunday’s 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals which initially was reported as knee injury, sums up the Steelers season in a nutshell.
EPMD broke it down best : “Total chaos…mass confusion.”
Per The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Brown expected to play Sunday and was at the stadium, but he was declared inactive and left at halftime. Following Friday’s practice, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Brown was having his knee tested because he “didn’t feel comfortable enough to [practice].”
But eventually the real story came out and despite the criticism for his antics, Brown isn’t letting anyone steal his personal joy. He even dropped some philosophy on us via his Twitter account.
We don’t know what really went on behind the scenes this year in Pittsburgh, but from the very beginning the team was fragmented, the head coach seemed to be “losing control” of his two stars and the turmoil was manifesting itself on the field. Brown certainly hasn’t done anything to help Tomlin, but rumor has it that Brown feels like Tomlin aligned himself with Big Ben, so Brown doesn’t really trust his head coach.
The early distractions from Bell wanting his money and the ensuing negative media rush is why Pittsburgh was playing for its playoffs life on the last day of the season. It took the squad a while to develop a winnign chemistry.
Brown did his part on the field, with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards plus a career-high and NFL-leading 15 touchdown catches.
In the locker room, however, Brown was more concerned with being heard than being helpful.
We all respect Brown for standing up for himself as a man, speaking his mind and reminding the owners that he’s who the fans come to see on Sunday. We respect his Kanye West MAGA philosophy; that going against the grain — even in a team sport — shows an individuality and free thought that’s to be commended.
Calling Ryan Clark an Uncle Tom is probably taking it a bit too far. But Brown will get a pass for that too.
Problem is, a football team functions like a car. All of the parts have to be working in unison for it to run properly. Even if you have an $80,000 souped up engine, if it isn’t installed properly it can wreck the entire car. It’s not worth keeping at that point.
Which brings us back to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown. Every relationship has a beginning and an expiration date. Brown’s sideline rants, pouts and the tantrums have no place in the game. If the Steelers are making Brown that unhappy, both parties need to sit down and amicably part ways.
Everything else is just for The Gram.