The Steelers’ 2018 season ended pretty bleakly, and their offseason has seen things only get worse.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown missed their season finale against the Bengals supposedly because of a knee injury, but he was actually benched for missing practices during the previous week due to a fallout between him and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Brown then reportedly requested a trade from the team, and he may just get his wish.
Steelers’ owner Art Rooney II said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the team is willing to deal the All-Pro receiver.
“There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney said in his first public comments since Brown skipped out on practices and team meetings leading up to the Dec. 30 game at Heinz Field. “We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table.
“Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we’re a long way away from thinking that can happen. We’re not closing the door on anything at this point.”
The Steelers could presumably get a solid haul in trading Brown, but that would likely mean two of the three “killer bees” would be gone from the Steelers’ roster with running back Le’Veon Bell surely not returning to the franchise after the escapade of a season he went through. Roethlisberger, who turns 37 in March, would be the remaining third of that triumvirate, but as of now, they don’t seem to have a James Conner or a JuJu Smith-Schuster-caliber of player to replace him in the near future.
Brown is still arguably the best receiver in the NFL, but his beef with Roethlisberger and perhaps the leadership of the team looks to be serious enough where their relationship cannot continue.
The early buzz has been the 49ers are a team that could make a push for Brown, who actually hinted that he’d like to land in San Francisco.