Pittsburgh Steelers: Antonio Brown returns to practice with no indication of Sunday’s return

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 10: Antonio Brown /

Good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they’re biggest offensive weapon returned to practice this week.

Antonio Brown hasn’t seen the field since his regular season-ending calf injury in Week 15. Ruled out until the team’s first playoff game, Brown spent the last three weeks rehabbing.

After slow progression in running and catching, the NFL’s leading receiver returned to the field for the first time this week. Although it was a mild day for him, Brown’s presence goes a long way in Pittsburgh’s preparation for Jacksonville and their second-round playoff matchup.

Brown’s availability for this weekend is still unknown. Even if he’s on the field in practice, the Steelers and Brown are keeping their expectations for Sunday’s game to a minimum.

Outside of Brown, Pittsburgh’s injury report is clear. Maurkice Pouncey, Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Cameron Heyward all began practicing last week after sitting out for the team’s final regular season game.

Brown is a huge factor in the game Sunday. The Jaguars embarrassed Pittsburgh during their regular season matchup. Their defense made a joke of Big Ben, intercepting five passes on their way to the victory.

Having Brown back will be a major confidence boost for Roethlisberger. Not that he’s nervous about the game, making it known he wants to play the Jags in the Divisional Round, but having that X-factor in Brown makes his job a lot easier.

Pittsburgh enters the week as a touchdown favorite over Jacksonville. With Brown on the field, their advantage increases.

Expect Brown out there this week. Even if he’s not, though, there’s no doubt he’ll be active during the AFC Championship game, if the Steelers make it.

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There likely won’t be any signs other than practice for Brown until the weekend. Right now, it’s a waiting game to see if Pittsburgh’s biggest threat will be in uniform this Sunday.