The 2019 season has just freshly been put to bed, but the drama from the past year still lingers for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they grapple with The Antonio Brown Situation™, which may not yet be resolved for some time. The extremely talented but behaviorally dubious wide receiver has seemingly been enjoying his time this offseason with his situation, or at least going back and forth between that and being upset about how everybody around him is treating him.
While he finally made a public appearance recently during the buildup to the Super Bowl, in which he said that all he cares about is winning, that it doesn’t matter where, and that “all options are on the table”—directly referencing what Steelers President Art Rooney II said about the team’s options in handling him—he has largely stuck to social media.
Sometimes he’s been overt, while others have been trawling through his history of ‘liked’ Tweets, in which you will find a variety of takes ranging from indications of his wanting to be traded to hints of wanting to stay.
Yesterday evening, literally just a minute before the kickoff in the Super Bowl, Brown Tweeted once again, calling upon Steelers fans to respond. “SteelerNation RT if u [want] AB in Pittsburgh”, he wrote. As of the time of this writing, the Tweet has over 28,000 retweets and 18,000 likes, along with 3000 replies.
SteelerNation RT if u AB in Pittsburgh
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 3, 2019
Is this perhaps his way of gauging how Steelers fans feel about him? Following one session in which Rooney spoke to reporters about Brown, he indirectly responded on Twitter, saying that the team is “indifferent” to him, as are the fans. Maybe he wants to see if people are really indifferent.
Of course the truth is that people have been anything but different. It may well be that Brown’s future has been discussed more liberally and with more emotion than has any other topic over the course of the postseason, which is pretty notable given that the Steelers were non-participants in the playoffs.
This topic has certainly been discussed ad nauseum, but with the 2018 football season now officially over and offseason mode kicking into gear for all 32 teams, there’s a reasonable chance that we see the gears start to come in motion, one way or another.
The NFL Scouting Combine is around the corner, and part of that entire process consists of members of team front offices gathering and holding informal discussions. We may get a better sense of what the Steelers and other teams are thinking about Brown’s future. But of course first we must get a sense of what Brown himself wants his future to be.