Antonio Brown's irrelevancy to the Steelers does not justify retiring No. 84

The Steelers have no incentive to retire No. 84 after Antonio Brown burned every bridge in Pittsburgh.
Nov 8, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a
Nov 8, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers recently announced new players' jersey numbers. One player was Running back Cordarrell Patterson from Atlanta. Patterson, after deliberation, kept his old number, 84, which has caused controversy with a former Steelers player who used to wear that number.

Antonio Brown wore that number while he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was one of the NFL's best wide receivers and likely Hall of Fame-bound. However, he eventually began to feel bigger than the game or even the NFL.

He now finds himself embroiled in controversy over Patterson's choice of jersey number. Patterson, after some debate, decided to keep the number he wore his whole career. It's not like Antonio Brown did anything that would make the Steelers semi-retire his jersey number, at least.

The downfall of Antonio Brown

At the pinnacle of his game, very few receivers were as good as Antonio Brown, especially when he entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft choice. In Pittsburgh, he amassed 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns, with seven Pro Bowl appearances. He was the ultimate weapon for Ben Roethlisberger.

What fans did not know over his nine seasons is that, as his stardom grew, he began creating drama within the Steelers organization. He began missing meetings and practices, and there were, at times, altercations with teammates. Over his nine seasons, some of that could be overlooked, as he was the best in the NFL. By the end of 2018, even the Steelers grew tired of the drama he created.

In 2018, Antonio Brown was benched by the Steelers for the last game of the season, after which he requested a trade, and the Steelers traded Brown to the Raiders. The Raiders released him before the start of the 2019 season, and since then, he has only played in 16 games.

In 2021, while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was cut from the team after walking back to the locker room before the end of a game, which marked the end of his NFL career.

The Steelers give away his jersey number 84

Antonio Brown has not played for the Steelers for almost six years now. Had he stayed, he could have helped get the Steelers back to the playoffs or, who knows, maybe another championship. His antics ultimately led to the Steelers ridding themselves of his services.

So why would the Steelers have any desire to semi-retire his jersey number?

Had Brown retired as a Steelers player who helped win another championship or eventually entered the Hall of Fame, they would have gladly done that. The reality is none of that happened, so the Steelers have no obligations to Brown or his jersey number.

He knows that, but he would rather attack Cordarrell Patterson on Twitter for even considering taking number 84 than admit his role in what happened with the Steelers. Steelers fans sometimes are not as forgiving; in time, many will forget Brown ever wore number 84.

Brown doesn't realize that Steelers fans consider him irrelevant these days. He even had the nerve to say he would come back and play for free in 2024 if the Steelers let him wear number 86, Hines Ward's semi-retired number not worn since 2011.

The Steelers would never give Hines Ward number to Brown ever, and Ward would never agree to such a travesty. Then to make the situation more comical, he lectured the Steelers that Steelers must retire 12, 7, and 43, the jersey numbers for Terry Bradshaw, Ben Roethlisberger, and Troy Polamalu.

Here's a news flash for you, Antonio: these numbers are retired albeit unofficially but it will be a cold day in Hades before anyone sees another player don either of those numbers. However, Antonio, you missed the number 86. You should have included it. No one else will ever wear that jersey again, and certainly not you.

Plus, it gets funnier now he claims he will retire as a Raider. Another news flash, Antonio, you never even played a game for them; you won't be doing them any favors, either. Brown is just an arrogant, self-centered baby driven by his ego. He thought his statistics were enough to justify his off-field behavior.

The reality of his current situation is that he needs to grow up and smell some of what he's shoveling. Perhaps if he had been the bigger man and let it be, we could have thought better of Brown, but he couldn't even do that.