2016 South Side Questions: Is Brown Choosing To Stop Being A Distraction?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Is Antonio Brown going to elect to stop being a distraction after yet another incident?

Over the course of the season thus far, Steelers All-Pro wide receiver has drawn the ire of the officials and the league office more often than not. While he has vowed that he has no intention of being a distraction and has no intention of drawing attention to himself, it is clear that his actions have accomplished the exact opposite effect, and it is in his power to reverse course.

Thus far this year, the former Dancing With The Stars participant has been flagged and fined on two separate occasions for his post-touchdown dance celebrations. It can be fairly argued that the league has, or at least had, not provided sufficient clarity about what is and is not acceptable in this regard—and frankly, whether or not what is not allowed is ridiculous can be debated.

But he has also, multiple times, been threatened to be ejected from the game because he chose to wear cleats over the course of the game that were not a part of his uniform. In one instance, he wore cleats that featured the faces of his children. On Sunday, he wore cleats that honored Muhammad Ali.

Brown was forced to change his cleats at some point of the game in both instances or risk being taken out of the game. The week before, he received permission to wear cleats that honored the recently deceased Arnold Palmer. That was not the case in the prior two incidents.

The wide receiver scored a receiving touchdown late in the game, and it was clear that the officials were monitoring him and trying to determine what he might do. He certainly appeared to be weighing his options after making the grab.

He ultimately spotted a fan in the front row with a giant replica of his face, and he calmly walked over to her and handed her the ball. Is this a sign of his coming to an understanding that it is better not to risk the ire to the league with excessive celebrations and unique footwear?

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