Where are we right now with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown? Or more specifically, where is Antonio Brown? The thing is, the Steelers don’t know where he is or what he’s up to, and that is one of the biggest problems. Brown has not been in contact with the team in any meaningful way, seemingly, since halftime of the season finale. Last year.
That is what team president Art Rooney II more or less confirmed earlier today when he was driven to say, when asked if he expected to see Brown in training camp with the Steelers in 2019, that it would be “hard to envision”. But that wasn’t the full quote. “As we sit here today, it’s hard to envision that”, he said.
“But there’s no sense on closing the door on anything today”, he said immediately after that. “There’s snow on the ground. We don’t have to make those decisions right now”. The “hard to envision” quote sounds a lot more damning without the full context, but really, of course it’s hard to envision right now. Will it be a month from now?
That’s up to Antonio Brown. Brown, who reportedly does not want to be traded, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala and Peter King, citing sources close to the wide receiver. The thing is, if he doesn’t want to be traded, he needs to recognize as soon as possible that the ball is in his court to repair his relationship with the organization. It’s up to him, not them.
After Rooney spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he did share an image of himself shaking the hand of Rooney, writing “Good Business #Boomin”. It’s hard to know exactly what that means, but I would be inclined to take it as a good sign, perhaps an indication that he really doesn’t want to be traded.
But whether or not he wants to be traded is only one part of the equation. The organization just confirmed that it is open to trading him if they feel it’s in the team’s best interest, Brown is now made aware of that fact. He could be traded whether he wants to or not.
The obvious next step is for him to begin reaching out. To somebody. And directly. Whether it’s a teammate or a coach or Rooney himself, it’s important to open the lines of communication. From the looks of it, the team has done its part to try to open a dialogue, with Brown having been unresponsive.
Hopefully today’s events are the first step in getting everybody back on the same page and into a working relationship that is not only salvageable, but maintainable. It might be ‘hard to envision’ that right now, but there is still plenty of time for this story to turn around.