The Owner of the Steelers has spoken and it appears Antonio Brown’s time in Pittsburgh is nearing a stunning and sudden conclusion.
Turmoil on the practice field kept the Steelers leader in touchdowns this past season (15) from playing in a Week 17 match-up with the Bengals. In an interview Thursday with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steelers President Art Rooney II painted a future for the black and gold without the All-Pro Wide Receiver.
Steelers President Art Rooney II said the team is not going to release Antonio Brown, but “all other options are on the table” following the wide receiver’s insubordinate behavior before and after the final regular-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In an interview Thursday with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rooney would not come out and say the Steelers are going to trade their All-Pro receiver, but he left no doubt that it is a strong possibility. He even went so far as to say it would be “hard to envision” Brown being with the Steelers when they report to training camp in July.
“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.
The Steelers cannot do anything with Brown until March 13, the first official day of the 2019 NFL season. He is due a $2.5 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year, or March 17, so it is likely the Steelers would make a decision by then.
Brown is scheduled to count $22,165,000 against the salary cap in 2019. If the Steelers trade him, he would still count $21,120,000 — the amount remaining from his $40.8 million signing bonus — against their cap. However, the Steelers would save $15.1 million — his 2019 salary plus roster bonus — in real money.
Rooney, though, indicated Brown’s salary cap ramifications would not play into whatever decision the team makes.“That has to be taken into consideration, but, as I sit here today, I’m not going to say that’s going to box us into anything,” Rooney said. “If we decide something has to be done, we’ll figure out how to deal with that.”
Asked specifically if a trade was a possibility, Rooney said, “I’m not going to use those words. All options are on the table. We have two months to go before we can do anything. There’s no sense making the decision now. We’ll see how things play out. Maybe he decides to come talk to us some day and we learn more about where he is. We’ll see.”
Brown has flirted on social media with players from other teams as well as refused to return phone calls from Rooney II and Head Coach Mike Tomlin. After reports of Brown likely being traded dropped, AB issued his on message on Instagram.
Flip the page for Antonio Brown’s response.