When it comes to former players who have entered the analysis side of football, I generally tend to have more respect for Cris Carter than most. He not only was a great player who went through a lot during his career, he has a greater respect and appreciation for the game than most, and in the limited times I’ve seen him, he’s done a good job of discussing whatever topic was being addressed.
I thought he was pretty much on the money when he first commented on the Antonio Brown situation with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I was interested in hearing what he had to say about the most recent developments after Art Rooney II addressed the issue.
“I’m shocked. Because they’ve given him the type of support, they’ve given him everything that you would want that he could grow in to some type of maturity and be a leader, be a guy who’s dependable”, Carter said.
“I’m surprised that it came to this because the Steelers have supported Antonio Brown at every step of his career. When the Rooney family comes out and says they don’t see AB in a Steelers uniform anymore, that’s shocking to me.” — @criscarter80 pic.twitter.com/93ocPcVe4J
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) January 11, 2019
“But there have been a number of warning signs throughout the years. And I’m just gonna say, as a former player, and as someone who knows a lot of players in the league and a lot of coaches, I know a lot more information than I put on tv”, he added. “Because a lot of times it doesn’t help, because a lot of the information that I have, you try to see if it’s gonna play out publicly. Like Ryan Clark, he made some comments that people knew about, but he finally commented on them because there was a similar behavior”.
Carter talked about an unspoken understanding that exists between current players and former players who enter the media. “It’s kind of like the sausage-making factory. Everyone wants to eat the sausage, but you don’t want to see how it’s made. And when you’re inside these locker rooms, you know things about people, so I’m surprised that it came to this, because they have supported him at every step of his career”.
To Carter’s point, the issue may well be the fact that they have given him too much support, too much freedom from the consequences and repercussions that would ordinarily result from his behavior. That is the benefit of being an elite player, and one that nearly all elite players share, but rarely does it come to a head like this.
“When the Rooney family comes out and you ask them a question about one of their star players, ask them, ‘do you see him in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform’ and they say ‘no’—like, that’s shocking to me, because that’s not how they do business”, Carter said.
Of course the situation is far from resolved, and we are still waiting for Brown to comment next. We don’t know how everything will unfold and what jersey he will wear next season, but Carter is right about one thing, and that is that it’s pretty shocking that we are where we are.