It is the nature of Mike Florio in his natural environment to seize upon a minutely controversial topic and spin it into a variety of angles of speculation, likely knowing full well that what he says is often nonsense. We got a glimpse of Mike Florio in his unencumbered environs once again penning yet another piece about how badly the Pittsburgh Steelers hate Antonio Brown and secretly want somebody to trade for him.
Yes, Antonio Brown wore some cleats several times that he wasn’t supposed to. And yes, he was penalized for excessive celebration a couple of times in a classic case of ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’. And yes, there was that utterly foolish Facebook Live video that is apparently the end of the world to some, and a complete non-issue to others.
But Florio insists that members of the organization are deliberately leaking bad press for Brown to engage in “a little psychological warfare”. Evidently, his theory goes, “by creating the impression that they’re not happy with Brown…they may be able to lock him up for a lot less than he otherwise would want”.
He understandably doesn’t expand much upon his logic because the reality is that there is not a great deal of logic behind the argument. His latest chapter in the ‘The Steelers Actually Hate Antonio Brown’ Saga was built around a sentence in an article written by Ed Bouchette that was stripped of its full context.
Bouchette penned an article detailing the Steelers’ offseason agenda, which as reason would dictate dealt with Brown as he enters the final year of his contract. He wrote in the article that “Brown’s antics are wearing thin on some of his teammates and certainly his coaches”.
It doesn’t exactly take an inside source to get that scoop. Any time somebody that you know does something stupid that makes you have to cover for him is going to be a time in which you’re annoyed with that person and will want him to stop. But that doesn’t mean you want him gone.
As Bouchette wrote, “while Brown may ruffle some feelings, he never let it affect his play and he remains one of the hardest workers on the team—and has not missed a game to injury in the past four seasons, except for the concussion sustained in the 2015 postseason”.
He went on to write that “the Steelers really have no receivers they can count on” without Brown and that “it would appear they have to swallow hard, sign him and hope he continues to perform as one of the NFL’s best receivers as he turns 29, and that his antics are limited to those he can live with”.
Florio has already shifted the goalposts from ‘the Steelers are looking for a trading partner for Brown’ to ‘the Steelers are looking to drive Brown’s asking price down’. I’m not sure where he can go from here, but I’m sure he’ll find another angle to take. In the meantime, the Steelers will lock him up after having sent the message that they need him to grow up if they’re going to pay him elite money—you know, the actual message they were sending.