Former Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders weighed in with his thoughts on the Antonio Brown drama for NFL Game Day on NFL Network Saturday afternoon. His opinion probably closes matches with the consensus. Brown shoulders plenty of the blame for his actions, Mike Tomlin helped enable those actions, and AB will eventually be traded.
“When Art Rooney came out and said that, he’s pretty much gone. Because being around the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, Art Rooney doesn’t say too much but when he says something, he means it,” Sanders said at the beginning of the segment.
Of course, Sanders is referring to Rooney’s comments saying it was “hard to envision” Brown still a Steeler come training camp. That quote does deserve context. Rooney said it’ll feel that way unless Brown gets in contact with the team and they hash out their problems, but it’s still a damning quote from a clearly frustrated owner.
Sanders said Brown failing to show up the latter part of the week before the Bengals game, one that carried important playoff implications, was unacceptable and a decision he’d never personally think about making.
“I feel like Antonio brought it on himself. You can not turn your back on your brothers and the Pittsburgh Steelers organization who gave you the opportunity to make you who you are in terms of Antonio Brown the football player. For you to leave on a Wednesday and have your agent call on a Sunday is the ultimate disrespect to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. That’s how Art Rooney feels.”
Still, Sanders pointed out Tomlin isn’t blameless in this mess either. He believes Tomlin let Brown get away with too much over the years.
“In my opinion, I’ve seen several situations where it could have been handled a lot better,” Sanders said, referring to Tomlin. “I remember Mike Tomlin, one of his things was ‘I’m going to treat everybody the same but I’m not going to treat everybody the same.’ Meaning, if you’re out here making plays and you’re doing this, you’re going to have some type of leeway. Obviously, he’s given Antonio way too much leeway to the point where he thinks he can leave on a Wednesday, call on a Sunday, and still be on the sidelines.”
Sanders also said the Ben/AB rift likely got worse following Roethlisberger’s comments after the Denver loss. On his radio show that following week, Ben said Brown needed to run his route flatter. That criticism may have been the last straw in their relationship.
“I bet Antonio Brown was frustrated,” Sanders said about the incident, saying Roethlisberger threw his receiver “under the bus.”
Jokingly, Sanders lobbied for the Broncos to trade for Brown. Even if they want to, a trade can’t happen until the window opens up in early March. Check out the entire segment below.