The Antonio Brown situation is one that will continue to dominate the story of the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into the 2019 offseason, and it won’t end after there is some type of resolution. If he ends up remaining with the team, the discussion will be on when he steps out of line next. If he is traded, the talk of the town will be how they can replace his production on the field.
The Steelers’ bed has already been made in this situation, and all they can do is lie in it. There is no way they can win, except by winning on the field, and that would be especially in their favor if they prove to be able to win without Brown, and his distractions.
The ultimate preference it to be able to win with Brown and claim a couple more Lombardi Trophies, but as Steelers president Art Rooney II has made explicitly clear on a few occasions already in the early portions of this offseason, there are currently no signs of that happening.
Rooney has confirmed on multiple occasions, the most recent being just yesterday, that he still has not been able to communicate with Brown, and joked that he has since “stopped waiting by the phone”. Brown has declined to answer or return phone calls from Rooney and others in the organization, including teammates.
While appearing on WDVE, the very first thing that Rooney was asked was if everything could be resolved by a simply phone call from Brown in which he apologized and expressed remorse and contrition for his role in how the situation between himself an the team has dissolved.
“I don’t think it’d be quite that easy”, the president admitted. “I’d have to say, ‘Antonio, you’re gonna have to come in and let’s sit down and talk about this, because there are still parts of this that I need to understand what happened’”.
“Unfortunately like I’ve said before I haven’t had a chance to talk to him and he hasn’t been communicating with us”, he added, “so certainly the first step would be to have some communications”.
The key in that being “the first step”. That is indeed the first step in an entire process that must take place if Brown is to remain with the organization in 2019 and perhaps beyond. I imagine that if the two sides talk and decide that they want to continue to work together, the Steelers would expect that some sort of plan be put together to try to keep the wide receiver in check.
For the moment, Brown seems more interested in getting his message out to the fanbase, repeatedly hinting at an interview coming, than he is in returning the messages of his employers and superiors. Until that changes, the only process that can be started right now is having discussions with teams about dealing him and what the compensation would be that they expect to receive in exchange for his rights.