The Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown appear headed for an even messier split than expected, as Brown took shots at Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger.
Over the past couple of months, Antonio Brown has made his intentions clear. The star wide receiver wants out of Pittsburgh, and while the Steelers organization has attempted to make peace with one of the most statistically dominant wide receivers in league history, Brown’s mind appears to be set.
Yesterday, Brown liked a tweet from a Twitter user who noted the past rape allegations against Ben Roethlisberger, and he’s used social media to angle for trades to the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.
But Brown made two more pointed statements at his head coach and quarterback in Pittsburgh. In tweets made on Saturday afternoon, Brown claimed that Tomlin benched him in Week 17 when he was injured, insinuating that the coach tried to give the impression that Brown had quit on the Steelers during a playoff race.
Brown’s benching came amidst reports that he had a dispute with Roethlisberger, throwing a football at the Steelers quarterback before refusing to practice. This report denied that Brown missed Week 17 due to a knee injury.
In the tweet above, Brown took aim at Roethlisberger, stating that while he has “mutual respect” for Roethlisberger, he dislikes the fact that Big Ben is allowed to call out those around him. He resents Roethlisberger’s “owner mentality”.
Other tweets from Brown cement the idea that he is looking for an opportunity elsewhere, whether it’s with the Packers, 49ers or another team interested in acquiring a wide receiver who caught 104 passes and 15 touchdowns last season. The implication here is that Brown doesn’t see himself winning a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh anymore. Brown would have no shortage of suitors despite this blow-up with the Steelers organization, especially if a team decides he’s either worth the headache or sides with the Madden 19 cover star.
It will be interesting to see how the Steelers respond to Brown’s tweets, given they’ve been trying to patch things up with their best player. Trading Brown would be an onerous task, as the Steelers would have to eat more than $20 million in dead cap and likely wouldn’t get fair value for a perennial 100-catch wide receiver. But for the Steelers, who usually do things their way and value stability, Brown’s latest actions may be deemed unforgivable, even if this may be a case of a player standing up for himself in a league that frowns upon any inkling of dissent.