Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown had a huge game last week in many respects. He caught a season-high 14 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers put him over 100 receptions on the season for the sixth consecutive year and also gave him the most receptions in any seven-season span in NFL history. His two touchdowns gave him on the year, the most in the league and the most in franchise history.
He has a chance to pad his numbers even further if he plays today, but the likely All-Pro is listed as questionable to go against the Cincinnati Bengals with some type of knee injury. While there were no indications of an injury last week, he did not practice at all and underwent some tests late on.
Earlier tonight, Ian Rapoport Tweeted that Brown “still has a chance to play”, according to a source, but that “he will need to improve to have a shot” at dressing. He will work out before the game, and likely will be a game-time decision, at least based on Rapoport’s information—for whatever that is worth.
#Steelers WR Antonio Brown, listed as questionable, still has a chance to play Sunday, source said. He’ll work out pregame, but he will need to improve to have a shot. His knee is still feeling discomfort. One to watch.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 30, 2018
It’s worth noting that there has only been one instance this entire season for the Steelers in which a player was listed as questionable to play and that player ended up not dressing. That was Cameron Sutton a few weeks ago, and his reason for not dressing had nothing to do with his health.
Another instance that occurred a few weeks ago had to do with Matt Feiler. He suffered a pectoral injury the week before and was listed as questionable to play. While he did not play in the next game, he did dress, meaning that he was at least healthy enough to serve as a reserve.
The league removed the ‘probable’ injury designation a couple of years ago, and the Steelers have since become more scrupulous with how they use the ‘questionable’ status as a result. Now that doesn’t mean that every player listed as questionable is always going to play—and Brown’s having not practiced all week is pretty significant—but if I were to bet money on it, I would favor the wide receiver playing.
After all, it’s not as though this is some meaningless regular season finale. It’s not a play-in scenario for the Steelers, as they need help to reach the playoffs, but a win is pretty much a requirement in order for them to get what they want.
And there’s nothing that Brown wants more than a Super Bowl, which you can’t get if you’re not in the dance. He has played through injuries. If he can play through this, he will for this game.
Not a lot of optimism that WR Antonio Brown, listed as questionable for Sunday due to knee soreness, will play against the Bengals, per sources. Brown’s knee has not responded well to last week’s game on turf, and he did not take part in Saturday practice. Final decision Sunday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 30, 2018