Rooney’s comments clearest sign yet Antonio Brown will be leaving the Steelers

The Steelers seem poised to part ways with superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown, after the team’s president casts shadow over his future in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and star wide receiver Antonio Brown seem likely to be heading for a messy divorce. The team’s President of Football Operations, Art Rooney II, spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the future of Brown with the team.

“There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney said. “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.”

Rooney also went on to mention how he feels as if the relationship between Brown and the organization will be tough to mend.

“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 rocky relationship with Brown and the Steelers ignited when the star wide receiver skipped out on practices and team meetings heading into the Steelers season finale on Dec. 30. Rumors began swirling about a disagreement between the receiver and the team’s franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, after Pittsburgh decided to make Brown inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Brown is slated to count a little over $22 million against the salary cap in 2019. Even if the Steelers do decide to trade him, he would still count over $21 million against their cap. However, the team would save $15.1 million (his 2019 salary roster bonus).

Rooney indicated Brown’s salary cap ramifications would not prevent the team from dealing Brown if that’s what is best for the franchise.

“That has to be taken into consideration,” Rooney stated. “As I sit here today, I’m not going to say that’s going to box us into anything. If we decide something has to be done, we’ll figure out how to deal with that.”

Brown to this day has refused to return repeated phone calls from Rooney or Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, according to the Post-Gazette. Rooney was asked about a trade being an option, which he did acknowledge, but wasn’t limiting himself or the Steelers to any other available option as well.

Next: Five teams that should trade for Antonio Brown

For now, it looks as if Brown is done in Pittsburgh, and will be continuing his career with another organization. The Steelers have until March 13, the start of the new league year, to decide what needs to be done with Brown. A divorce between the two seems more likely now with Rooney speaking than it didn’t before.

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