Stay Classy, Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown’s strange offseason continued this weekend when he responded to a Twitter troll by one-upping the trolling.

Brown’s strange shot at his now former teammate caught Smith-Schuster, and quite frankly the entire NFL zeitgeist, off guard.

The shots continued Monday on Instagram:


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……..🎤 #OnToTheNext

A post shared by Antonio Brown (@ab) on

Yes, Smith-Schuster fumbled in a crucial Week 16 against New Orleans. The Steelers were down 31-28 and driving with under two minutes left when the ball (and Steelers season) slipped out of Smith-Schuster’s hands. The young wideout was devastated after the game and in the days that followed, squarely taking the blame, even though Stevan Ridley fumbled earlier in the game and countless other mistakes were made. Brown was among the Steelers players lending public support to Smith-Schuster at the time. “He’s been great. he’s a reason we’re here,” Brown said in December.

While Smith-Schuster was deeply impacted by the loss and the reality that the Steelers would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013, Brown took an immature, selfish. He went incommunicado in the 48 hours leading up to the Steelers’ season finale against the Bengals, forcing Mike Tomlin to bench him. Brown did show up to the game in a fur coat, but left at halftime and neglected to show up for one of a team’s most emotional, coalescing moments – the locker room clean-out.

Brown’s stature as one of the league’s best wide receivers allowed him all of his wishes: an exit out of Pittsburgh and a massive pay check. Following the trade with the Steelers, the Raiders signed Brown to a 3-year, $50 million contract.

Even if there is an untold backstory to Brown and Smith-Schuster’s relationship but on the surface, there is no legitimate reason for Brown to call out his former teammate on social media. He comes across as petty, immature and not focused on the present. Handle your feelings in private.

Brown’s six straight 100-catch seasons gives him more rope in a league that values talent above all, but collecting enemies in the league is world no player should wish for. Jon Gruden has had a fascinating return to football and what he does with three first-round draft picks is in the spotlight. Yet how Gruden controls his star receiver’s ego may be the bigger test. Good luck.