The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an off-season from hell and the major reason for that is now gone as the team has an agreement to trade Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders reportedly for 3rd and 5th round draft picks in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
Many will point to week 17 as the period when the Antonio Brown Era officially started to crumble but the signs were there going back a few years and really came to a head last Spring during OTAs. It was then that Brown held a strange rambling press conference where he blamed the media for many things, accused them of hoping that he’d trip up so that they could write bad things about him and complained that he had no privacy despite the fact he puts his life on display on social media continually. It was his “Me against the World” statement.
There were also issues with Steelers’ Beat Writer Ed Bouchette at training camp (how Brown managed to connect perceived racism to a writer stating he saw a limp is beyond me). Brown threatened to punch Jesse Washington over an article he wrote for ESPN. Brown was involved in several sideline dust ups, was cited for driving over 100mph on the way to work, was accused of tossing furniture off of a balcony and allegedly shoved the mother of one of his children to the ground.
But those were just the notable off-field incidents.
Brown would go on to miss the week 17 game against the Bengals after skipping team meetings that week, walking out of Wednesday practice with an injury that many of his teammates thought that he’d faked, blowing off an MRI on his knee the Steelers had arranged and not showing up for the Saturday walk-through. He had stormed off the practice field leading to the latter events of the final week and many of his teammates, Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney all placed calls or sent texts that were not returned beginning that Friday when word got out that he didn’t show for his MRI.
Much of Brown’s consternation apparently stemmed from Ben Roethlisberger‘s comments on his radio show following the loss to Denver. Roethlisberger criticized the depth of the route that Brown ran on the final offensive play and went so far as to say that he would have rather thrown the ball to JuJu Smith-Schuster on all 4 downs. Many fans believe that Roethlisberger might have been wiser to have chosen a private venue for his comments rather than publicly shame his #1 wide receiver, the same receiver Roethlisberger has thrown 74 touchdown passes to. Chances are that when Big Ben finally speaks about the issues he will take the high road which might be unusual for him since being overly candid sometimes has been a problem.
Nevertheless, Brown exits as probably the most despised departing Steeler by fans in recent memory, which is sad given his many contributions over the years. No one here will question the hard work or the huge plays he’s made in the last nine years but many fans have had enough of the antics which have mostly reinforced his “me first” attitude. The Steelers may miss his production on the field but there is little doubt they will be glad to be rid of a guy who has ostracized himself so much from the organization, and then fans, and the drama that has come with having Brown as a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Good luck AB. I hope the grass is as green on the other side as you believe it to be. But it probably won’t be.
When you realize that you made a wrong turn here, as Santonio Holmes has before you, and decide to reconcile with Steelers Nation, chances are we’ll let you back in,… eventually. But, do yourself a favor and stop burning bridges now.