There are still many questions remaining about exactly what happened at the end of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2018 regular season that resulted in arguably their best player, wide receiver Antonio Brown, choosing not to show up to work. That includes the details of an alleged incident that is said to have set him off.
There are also questions about what happened on the Sunday of their season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals and the decisions that ultimately led to his being made an inactive for the game in spite of the fact that he reported after being out of contact over the weekend.
In spite of his insubordinate behavior, Brown was not suspended, but merely made an inactive for the game, which is how they also handled Martavis Bryant the year before, and how others such as Rashard Mendenhall and Santonio Holmes have also been handled.
When president Art Rooney II appeared on The Fan yesterday, he was asked about why the team did not suspend him and why they have not tried to go after his game check. He previously said that he thought Brown probably did just enough to avoid the latter. Yesterday, he added to his comments.
“Well, he was disciplined for part of the conduct that weekend”, he said. “I guess people can second-guess whether he should have been suspended or not. We were dealing with a player [about whom] frankly we didn’t have all the information about what he was planning to do and what condition he was in physically”.
As the story goes, Brown claimed to be dealing with knee discomfort as either an excuse not to practice or because it really did bother him. He was supposed to go for an MRI on Friday, but did not, and nobody could contact him over the weekend, so, not knowing his health status, Mike Tomlin decided on Saturday night that he would be inactive.
“Certainly Antonio, we’ve had our differences on things, and would’ve liked certain activities to be eliminated and have conversations with Antonio about things over the years”, Rooney said of his and the organization’s relationship with Brown. “I’m not gonna say that it’s been 100 percent what we would like”.
Still, he knows how important the wide receiver has been to the team. “The other side of the coin you have to acknowledge is he’s been one of the top players in the NFL for many years now. He and Ben [Roethlisberger] are a historic combination together in terms of their statistics as a passer and receiver and he helped contribute to a lot of wins over his career”, he said.
“It’s not always 100 percent what you hope for in dealing with a player. Whether we should have seen that particular incident coming, it’s hard to say. It’s hard to say. People can second-guess that if they want”.
You can be sure that there are plenty of fans—and both local and national writers—who are rushing to the podium to offer their seconds guesses about what the team should have done and should do.