There isn’t much of anything in the way of new information that we have learned regarding The Antonio Brown Situation™ over the course of the past couple of weeks. While there have been endless reports and updates about the relationship, or lack thereof, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the wide receiver, they generally haven’t told us anything we didn’t already know.
Did we finally learn something new in recent days, however? From impressions, we were given to understand that there had been no contact between Brown and the Steelers. President Art Rooney II even jokingly said that he had stopped waiting by the phone for the wide receiver.
But in response to a FanSided report, Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, recently said that the author of the report had no knowledge of Brown’s intentions, and that only the Steelers had been made aware of his intentions.
Additionally, Ian Rapoport yesterday noted in a report that the wide receiver has “maintained a steady dialogue with some in the organization he’s close with”, saying that he has expressed the sentiment that he has not closed the door on returning to Pittsburgh.
So the question is, who exactly is Brown communicating with? It’s certainly not Rooney or Mike Tomlin. Even JuJu Smith-Schuster has said that he hasn’t heard from Brown, and I’m not sure if any of his teammates have said that they have spoken to him since the end of the season.
Is it a member of the coaching staff, such as wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, or perhaps offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, with whom he has had a relationship since he was drafted in 2010? Perhaps somebody in the front office or at a lower level?
Ultimately, I suppose it doesn’t really matter exactly who he’s talking to, for two reasons. For one, some communication between himself or his party and some connection to the organization is better than none at all. For another, we still know that they communication is not taking place with those with whom it needs to be taking place, namely Rooney, Tomlin, and arguably Ben Roethlisberger.
All three of them have gone on record at some point this offseason to say that they have attempted to reach out to him and have not received a response. We are nearing a month now since the 2018 regular season has ended, with free agency a little more than six weeks away.
As for now, I suppose I will take this droplet of information as a positive sign. At least, as far as we know, there has been some contact made between the two parties, even if Brown is not yet ready to address the likes of his head coach or Rooney.
Is there still room for reconciliation? I think so, and the team appears to think so, even if it is “hard to envision” right now under the circumstances. The ball remains in Brown’s court, but perhaps he has been doing more with it than we have been given the understand.