The drama continues in Pittsburgh, but perhaps for not much longer. Steelers owner Art Rooney II broke his silence on the issues with the star receiver. The message was pretty loud and clear.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette released a story on Thursday that had some strong comments about the status of the relationship between the Steelers and Antonio Brown.
It appears Steelers president, Art Rooney II is as confident as the fans that the team’s top wide receiver is headed towards a departure. After late-season antics, Brown’s time in Pittsburgh should be over sooner rather than later.
For a story that broke over a week ago, the Steelers continue to make headlines with their star-studded, drama-filled wide out.
There’s no beating around the bush here. Art Rooney II stays quiet on most things, but for him to come out and say something that definitive, that sends a strong message. Not only does it display how Rooney himself and others in the organization feel disrespected, it shows the culture is changing in Pittsburgh.
Antonio Brown has been in incidents with the team before that put the team in a bad spot, the most notable being his Facebook live video following the Steelers victory over Kansas City in the Divisional Playoff game two years ago. This most recent one with Brown going AWOL seems to be the last straw for the Steelers.
It’s difficult to understand why Steelers leadership has let the drama boil over to the point it’s gotten to. Maybe they did because it didn’t seem to drastically affect on-field success. The Steelers haven’t won a Super Bowl in a decade, but they are consistently in the playoffs and one of the winningest teams this decade.
2018 was different though. The drama had never gotten more out of control and, say what you will about how much it affected on-field performance, but the team failed to make the playoffs. In a season that saw the AFC North weakened by an injury-riddled Bengals team and the Browns and Ravens rely on rookie quarterbacks for their success. It was a season that should have been as automatic as ever for a division championship, yet the Steelers are sitting at home in January.
Art Rooney II may have been willing to put up with the nonsense from players like Brown because of their talent level. This is not the first time the Steelers have had ultra-talented players that had big egos. Even if they deal Brown, they’ll still have at least one in Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown is a generational talent, a bona fide superstar, and a future Hall-of-Famer. You don’t just go giving away or giving up on players like that. But obviously, the level of disrespect Art Rooney II feels over this incident of not returning phone calls or texts from him or Mike Tomlin after going AWOL in the week prior to the Week 17 matchup with the Bengals is the end of the rope.
The disrespect level is subjective, but in actuality, only to a certain point. Antonio Brown has still yet to personally contact Rooney II or Tomlin, yet Brown had the stones to show up on James Harrison’s Instagram story during Mike Tomlin post-season press conference. Within an hour after the Post-Gazette story broke, Antonio Brown posted this cryptic message on his Instagram and Twitter.
Take the meaning of it however you can, because I’m not too sure if I can even figure it out. Either way, Brown has enough time to go to social media when these public comments are made within minutes, but can’t pick up the phone to call or text someone. Take that however you want, but the one thing everyone can take from it for sure is the relationship between the player and the team is fractured at best.
Maybe there is still a ray of hope between the two parties, but if they can’t hash out anything by March, we may see what looks like the inevitable happen: Brown will not be a Steeler anymore. And if there is a parting of ways between the two, it is better for it to happen sooner rather than later.