Antonio Brown’s antagonistic relationship with the Steelers has continued to sour this offseason. On Tuesday, Brown all but made a public trade demand when he posted a goodbye message to Steelers fans on his Twitter account. But according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Steelers owner Art Rooney II still seems to think the situation can be salvaged:
This is a fair distance from where Rooney was when he spoke to the media at the end of last season, when he said that the Steelers were “a long way away from thinking” that the situation could be reconciled and that Brown could play for Pittsburgh next year.
SI’s Albert Breer reported on Thursday that Brown hasn’t spoken to any member of the Steelers’ brass since the season ended. That silence, combined with his tweet and the many trade requests he’s reportedly made amount to a pretty clear message: Brown doesn’t want to be a Steeler.
It’s probably way too late in the game for Rooney to try and clear the air now, and if they don’t trade or release Brown by March 17, he’ll be due a $2.5 million roster bonus. The Steelers could try and play hardball with Brown, the same way they did with Le’Veon Bell last season, and refuse to trade him. If they want to give yet another roster spot to an alienated star who isn’t playing, that’s their choice, but at this point the reasonable thing to do is just trade him or cut him.
Update (2:00 p.m.): The meeting is now apparently on.