We know Antonio Brown went AWOL on the Pittsburgh Steelers during the final week of the regular season, some sort of argument and frustration boiling over that’s led us to where the team is now, filled to the brim with drama. But according to Ed Bouchette, appearing on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning, it wasn’t the first time Brown left the team.
As tweeted out by one of the show assistant Andrew Perloff, Bouchette says Brown left the team in training camp and once more following the ugly loss to Kansas City.
"He left the team three times. Once during training camp. They covered it up and said he had an injury. … After the Kansas City loss. … And at the end of the season." – Steelers reporter Ed Bouchette on Antonio Brown (@dpshow)
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) February 18, 2019
Brown’s St. Vincent departure was an odd one. He missed several days of practice with what an apparent groin/quad injury that Mike Tomlin dubbed “just a day-to-day, minor injury.” He reportedly was sent to Pittsburgh for further testing, just as the Steelers claimed he was in Week 17. Following his return, Brown took a shot at Bouchette after reporting AB limped off the field during practice.
Antonio Brown limps off practice after some early individual work
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 13, 2018
Bro seriously have some respect you making shit up clown https://t.co/SxgHHee7KV
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) August 13, 2018
The Chiefs revelation comes mostly out of the blue. (Correction: It was reported at the time as Brown missing due to “personal reasons”). Brown had certainly been seeing the ball enough, amassing 33 targets in the first two weeks, though his production was relatively average, him and Ben Roethlisberger having difficulty getting on the same page, especially on deep throws. It led to Brown expressing that frustration on the sideline to new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
“Once on a Monday after they lost to Kansas City and he threw a fit on the sideline, he didn’t show up Monday, and then at the end of the season,” Bouchette explained on the show.
The Tribune-Review reported more of those frustrations post-game.
“After the game ended, though, Brown dressed and left the Steelers locker room before the media entered it. He was the only player who played in the game who left so quickly.”
To play devil’s advocate, we don’t know with certainty the circumstances surrounding it, if he was excused that particular day (the Steelers normally have Tuesday as their off day) but given this pattern of behavior, AB was lost the benefit of the doubt.
Check out the full interview with Bouchette below.