This season has been a never-ending cycle of drama out of Pittsburgh. That has continued into 2019 with reports that Antonio Brown is asking for a trade from the Steelers.
It started last week when Brown was absent at several practices and didn’t play in the Steelers game against the Bengals. The team reported he wasn’t playing due to a knee injury. Then the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Brown “elected to sit out practice last week after a dispute with Ben Roethlisberger.” The report went on to say the disagreement happened during a walk-through practice last Wednesday morning. According to Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette, “Brown was disgusted and threw a football in Roethlisberger’s direction.”
Whether or not there was an incident, Brown is obviously unhappy with his current team and is now reportedly requesting a trade from the Steelers, who were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday.
Antonio Brown has requested a trade. Im told it was not a demand but he has asked to be dealt. Very unlikely Rooney would capitulate. Brown has issues with Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. Feels like the coach is too aligned with the QB.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 1, 2019
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Brown hasn’t officially requested a trade, but has made his feelings known yelling “I’m Done!” as he left practice Wednesday after the altercation with Roethlisberger.
My understanding of the situation surrounding #Steelers WR Antonio Brown: As he exited the field in frustration on Wednesday, he yelled, "I’m done!" Then wondered why they don’t trade him. More venting in anger than anything. He has not made any actual trade request, officially.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 1, 2019
Mike Tomlin held a press conference Wednesday to address the reports. The Steelers coach said that Brown did not go through with a requested MRI last week and said Brown’s absence Sunday was “due to injury and lack of communication.” He also noted that Brown did not show up to Monday’s meeting Tomlin upped the intensity, calling Brown’s absence, “something very significant and will be handled appropriately so.” Tomlin, when blunted asked whether Brown quit on the Steelers, responded by saying “you can call it what you want to call it.” He went on to say that Brown has not formally requested a trade.
Tuesday on his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger denied any incident. “That’s what’s baffling to me, people are making a big deal about a walkthrough on Wednesday, a fight between he and I. If there was a blow up or something, I sure as heck didn’t see it,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m not sure where that comes from.”
Trading Brown would come with ramifications. His deal with the Steelers was restructured last March, and if Pittsburgh were to trade Brown before June 1st, they would owe him $21.2 million in dead money on their cap.
It was a productive season for Brown who had 104 receptions for 1,297 yards, a career-high and NFL-leading 15 touchdown catches and was named to the Pro-Bowl for the seventh time. Still, Brown took a backseat to JuJu Smith-Schuster at times. Smith-Schuster, in his second year, led the Steelers with 111 receptions for 1,426 yards.