Like it or not, we’re probably going to be talking about Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown for most of the offseason and at least until the start of the new league in March. In short, we’re all going to have suffer through every major media sports talk show discussing Brown’s immediate future with the Steelers and listen to the higher-profile media types give their educated guesses on if the wide receiver will remain in Pittsburgh past the start of the new league.
On Wednesday, longtime NFL writer and analyst Peter King, who was recently in the NFL news cycle explaining why he didn’t vote Brown an All-Pro this season, gave his thoughts on Brown’s immediate future during an interview on 93.7 The Fan. King was first asked on Wednesday if he thinks Brown will play another down for the Steelers moving forward.
“I’ve heard that Antonio Brown does not want to be traded and he wants to play in Pittsburgh and he wants to try to win a Super Bowl there,” King said. “I mean, he’s got a funny way of showing it sometimes, but there’s no rush. There’s nine weeks until the beginning of the league year. So, there’s no reason why they have to hurry and make a decision right now, which would be a decision made out of weakness and made out of vulnerability.
“And so, if you asked my gut feeling, my gut feeling is that they’ll listen to offers and if they get a good one, they’ll trade him. But I think that time is the Steelers friend right now and at some point, when emotions cool a little bit, when everybody cools off and simmers down, that Mike Tomlin has a meeting with him and decides whether there’s a reason to go forward with them on the team.”
King’s long response seems to have him on both sides of the fence and as far as him saying that he’s already heard that Brown doesn’t want to be traded, we’ve yet to hear the wide receiver or his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, say as much publicly. The only main point that King really drove home early in his Wednesday interview is that the Steelers won’t rush to make any kind of decision when it comes to Brown and I really don’t think that’s new information for those that have followed the team for any lengthy amount of time.
“Here’s the way I look at it right now, it’s certainly a question to be asked and it’s certainly a question that’s up in the air right now, but I think the Steelers, who usually proceed cautiously in things like this, in times of, I don’t know what you’d call it, crisis, whatever, I think they’re going to do the same thing here,” King said. “I remember sitting at the Super Bowl last year and hearing that the Chiefs were trading Alex Smith to Washington, it doesn’t make any sense to go fast on this.”
King was later asked if the Steelers current situation with Brown now warrants team president Art Rooney II getting more heavily involved than it appears, he’s been in the past with the wide receiver and thus have a sit-down with the player and let him know that now’s the time he starts listening to those in charge.
“Yes,” King replied. “I don’t know that it’s above Mike Tomlin, but I do think that, look, this just my feeling, that this is a time when, and again, because the Steelers are really a private organization, one of the most private in the league, but this is a time where I think we all feel like Dan Rooney would have done something – I don’t want to say cataclysmic or anything – but, because he’s not that kind of person.
“But Dan Rooney would have done something decisive in this case. And basically, either let it be known to Tomlin that this stuff has to change, and it has to change right now. I think that there seems to be so much turmoil now around this team and it’s got to stop, and I think if Art Rooney needs to get involved. It strikes me that this is the time where he needs to get involved and he needs to get involved in a major way.”
King later went on to give reasons why he believes it’s in Brown’s best interest right now to work things out now with the Steelers so that he doesn’t find himself on a new team with a new quarterback in 2019.
“Look, Antonio Brown is not the most disciplined or crisp route runner,” King attempted to state as a fact. “You know, everybody knows that and that’s one of the reasons why, in my opinion, if I were him, I’d want to work this out and stay. How do you know what happens if he gets traded to the New York Jets? If he becomes this generation’s Santonio Holmes? If he gets traded to the Jets and he’s got a frustrating first eight weeks with Sam Darnold and they can’t totally get on the same page, I mean, he’s an incendiary device.
“And so, how does he even know that that’s going to work? At the very least, Ben Roethlisberger knows Antonio Brown, knows how he plays, he knows where to put the ball for him, all those things. Would that take a while, a year, however long for Antonio Brown to get chemistry with somebody? All those things are the things that would go through my mind if I were him and I were trying to think about what I wanted my future to be.”
While Brown might not necessarily be known currently as the NFL’s best route runner, he certainly has a knack for getting open and tying opposing cornerbacks in knots in the process. Additionally, Brown has survived just fine the last several seasons despite having opposing defenses bracket him constantly during games. Brown having six consecutive 100-catch seasons doesn’t happen just because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the one throwing him the football. King could have made his point about how Brown might struggle initially with a new quarterback and in a new offensive system without knocking the wide receiver’s route running ability, in my honest opinion.
Oh, and about King not voting Brown an All-Pro this year, he once again attempted to explain his reasoning for that to close out his Wednesday interview.
“My whole time since I’ve been a Hall of Fame voter, since I’ve been any voter, I write a long column on Monday and I usually explain why I do certain things and that’s all I did,” King started to explain. “And a lot of people took exception to it, but I’m probably not going to change the way I do things. I’m 61 years old, I’ve been doing them the same way for quite some time. And I will vote for Antonio Brown again at some point in the future, I’m sure that I will. He’s a great football player, but I don’t think when you don’t show up for the practices the week of a playoff-implication game that you deserve to be on an All-Pro team, period. That’s not negotiable as far as I’m concerned.”
Just think, we still have at least 9 more weeks of this Brown-related drama. You can hear King’s full interview below if you have time to listen to it.