The Steelers might miss Antonio Brown on the field once the regular season begins, but they aren’t missing his antics in the locker room right now.
No one can deny the fact that the Steelers lost a lot of talent this offseason. Losing players like Antonio Brown will certainly impact the way Pittsburgh plays when the regular season begins. The team’s hope is that jettisoning players like Brown will help elevate the team by removing drama in the locker room.
If you’re inclined to listen to Steelers’ receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, that’s just what’s happening with the team. He’s not pulling any punches about the harmony the Steelers are enjoying at the moment. The young wideout recently told reporters that there is “no drama” in the Steelers locker room at the moment.
He didn’t come right out and attribute that to the departure of the team’s former No. 1 wide receiver, but he didn’t do anything to dispel that notion either. Reading between the lines of Schuster’s comments makes it pretty clear that he and his teammates are enjoying the relative calm of a locker room that doesn’t include Brown’s massive ego and personality.
Of course, it’s easy to enjoy a harmonious locker room before the regular season begins. The real test of whether or not Brown’s departure will be addition by subtraction for the Steelers won’t occur until the team faces some serious adversity. Pittsburgh isn’t going to cruise through the season with a perfect record. At some point the offense is going to sputter and people will begin to wonder whether or not trading Brown was really in the best interest of the franchise.
It’s still a good sign for Steelers fans that the team’s spiritual well-being has improved after the Brown trade. There was some concern that veterans on the team might side with the former star receiver. If that happened, head coach Mike Tomlin was going to face a real challenge in preventing his team from tearing apart at the seams. At the very least, most of the players on the current roster seem to believe Brown’s antics were more trouble than they were worth.
Then again, peace and harmony are always fleeting characteristics in any NFL locker room. Smith-Schuster and his teammates should enjoy the calm while they can. When the fury of the NFL regular season arrives they’ll really get a sense of where things stand without Brown in the fold.