Related Tags: Antonio Brown
Brown was involved in the week 16 fourth quarter Pittsburgh capitulation against New Orleans, which saw them lose control of their own destiny. When Baltimore was able to beat the Browns in week 17, the result made it impossible for the Steelers to make the playoffs. Nonetheless, Pittsburgh won its week 17 matchup against the Bengals, but Brown was not involved. Brown was considered questionable due to a knee injury prior to the game, but it seems like this was not genuine. After stories were leaked explaining the frustrated actions of Antonio Brown in practices leading up to the game, it seems clear that Brown chose to miss the game rather than missing the game via injury.
SInce the regular season has drawn to a close, Brown has came out and expressed his concerns about Pittsburgh. ESPN has reported that Antonio Brown is unhappy with how “aligned” coach Mike Tomlin is with quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger.
The indifference comes at a very odd time. Sure, there are bound to be frustrations because of the omission from the playoffs, but Brown must understand that he has profited heavily from Coach Tomlin and Big Ben. Brown is averaging 1,245 receiving yards a year during his nine year career. Brown also has 79 touchdowns, and only went three games this year without a TD. With such productive numbers, it's baffling as to why Brown would turn on his coach and QB.
Mike Tomlin has always been considered a “players coach”, and he will be tested in this instance. Tomlin began this season with the internal feud between the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell, with the outcome being without Bell for the season. This time, another star player is taking advantage of his start power, making headlines with a selfish agenda in mind. Tomlin has the whole offseason to align his team and reset the goals and aspirations of this squad.
With $21 million of dead money tied to Antonio Brown, look for AB84 to be wearing black and gold for another year, with Tomlin calling the shots, and Big Ben under center. Pittsburgh simply does not have the financial flexibility to move the highly valuable Brown, unless the player himself would be willing to drastically alter his contract situation. Look for this story to develop over the NFL offseason.