Where were you when Antonio Brown made googly eyes at San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle at 1:30 in the morning? To be fair, we all here at Steelers Depot have been making googly eyes at George Kittle for a couple of years now…but I guess Vance McDonald and Jesse James will do.
Of course, the context behind the little Twitter interaction is pretty important. As you’ve surely seen by now, it’s being reported that Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin elected to bench Brown for the season finale on Sunday as a disciplinary measure for his insubordinate behavior during the previous week leading up to the game.
We learned on Wednesday that Brown was dealing with a ‘knee issue’ stemming from playing on the New Orleans Saints’ domed turf the Sunday before. He ended up not practicing all week and was listed as questionable to play. He would test out the knee on Sunday before the game to see if he could go.
Except apparently none of that, or at least very little of it, was true. Instead he had what sounds like probably a stupid dust-up with Ben Roethlisberger that is said to have been his fault and resulted in him throwing a football at his quarterback, rather than it being the other way around.
Surely Brown wasn’t happy about all of this coming out, but Kittle was. He Tweeted at the Steelers’ receiver with a ‘sup’, and the All-Pro responded with an emoji with stars in his eyes. It’s just a Tweet, but you know there will be subtext implied.
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) January 1, 2019
It’s certainly reasonable to believe, assuming all the reports have been true, that Brown might not be thrilled about being in Pittsburgh right now. That doesn’t mean he wants to be traded, that the team would have any interest in trading him, or that it’s even reasonable financially to try to trade him.
Still, we’ve been seeing these minor outbursts for a year now from Brown, and it’s easy to start to wonder about his mental health. He took some time off during OTAs already last year after growing frustrated with the media and the other things associated with being a high-profile and highly-compensated elite athlete.
I don’t have enough information to make any kind of declarations, but it’s hard not to feel like Brown produces a lot of the drama that he goes through on his own. He has never been the most mature player on the team, and has never really been looked at as a leader beyond his work ethic—and now he’s skipping practices and meetings, so, yeah.
Go make googly eyes at Kittle, Antonio. All of us are, he’s really good. I wouldn’t get my hopes up if you’re expecting to be taking the field with him in the near future, though. I wonder how many other players on teams will be sending him messages in the coming 24 hours…