Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has never been shy about voicing his opinion on topics and on Tuesday, the retired defensive back delivered his thoughts on wide receiver Antonio Brown as it relates to him skipping Phase One of the team’s offseason program.
In three separate Twitter post, Clark states that people shouldn’t make a big deal out of players missing voluntary workout sessions because many of them receive better training and treatment away from team facilities. Additionally, Clark goes on to say that players are in essence professional independent contractors, who know that that their careers depend on them taking care of their bodies.
As far as Brown’s situation goes, Clark says that once the receiver starts to miss mandatory sessions, then that means he’s willing to sacrifice money in order to get his point across.
Clark is right on the money with his assessment of Brown’s current situation. As of right now, Brown hasn’t done anything wrong as the first three phases of the offseason program are voluntary and that includes the 10 OTA practices that will get underway in late May.
It isn’t mandatory for Brown to report to the team until the June minicamp gets underway and that’s when the Steelers are allowed to begin levying fines against him.
The Steelers have a long history of not caving to contract demands and they’re not likely to start with Brown, who currently has three years left on the contract he signed in 2012. If anyone should know that it’s Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
While Brown certainly might stay away from the team through the month of May, I have a feeling that he’ll report for the mandatory minicamp. If he doesn’t, then he might be prepared to miss all of training camp in addition, in an effort to drive his point home. That point could wind up being an expensive one, however, and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette passed along those details on Monday.
Teams can fine a player nearly $70,000 for skipping the mandatory minicamp and $30,000 for each day of training camp he misses. If Brown holds out for the first six days of training camp, he can be compelled to return an additional 15 percent of his pro-rated signing bonus of nearly $3.8 million or $570,000. So, if Brown were to hold out through minicamp and the first six days of training camp, the amount he could owe the Steelers would be $670,000, although they can lower that or eliminate it at their option. The Steelers could fine him an additional 1 percent of his pro-rated bonus (or $38,000) for each day he misses up to another $380,000 over 10 more days.