While Antonio Brown may not have formally asked for the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade him, he is certainly doing a good job of presenting the appearance of somebody who would like to have a fresh start on a new team. Whether it’s going AWOL or hanging out with a former teammate who was released in part due to insubordination or flirting with other teams, he’s making it known that he is not happy.
Neither are the Steelers and his teammates, really. And according to Head Coach Mike Tomlin, they are evidently going to have their say when it comes to discussing the future of Brown’s status with the team.
Among the many details that Tomlin revealed during his end of season press conference earlier today was the fact that he was going to be approaching some veterans in the locker room to discuss the situation with them and glean insights from their experiences.
He was asked whether or not that would be his approach, and he said, “most certainly, I don’t hate perspective”. As he has often said, “I don’t care were good ideas come from. You can’t have that attitude when you’re singularly invested and focused on being better and winning, which we are”.
While I’m sure the majority of his teammates love him, it also seems likely that they grow weary of his antics. Brown himself has said that even Heath Miller has had to put him in his place on occasion when he has gotten out of line in the past. And he hasn’t really changed in that regard since Miller has retired.
So who might these veterans be that Tomlin plans to consult with? Of course quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be one, and I think he already made his feelings pretty clear when he spoke about the situation on Tuesday on his radio show.
You know the offensive line will be approached as well, especially center Maurkice Pouncey and guard Ramon Foster, the two who have been in Pittsburgh for Brown’s entire career. Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, a team captain, will certainly be heard from as well. Maybe somebody like Darrius Heyward-Bey, too, who has been something of a mentor in the wide receiver room and would have some important insights.
Obviously the locker room is not going to make the decision about what Brown’s future will be, but it will be an important element of the discussion. If he is becoming incompatible with a stable locker room—and players are growing discontent with the way the team is handling his behavior—then a breaking point could be reached.
It’s almost hard to believe that we’re already at this point in the offseason, but here we are.