While it might not be their primary immediate focus, there is arguably no bigger task set in front of the Pittsburgh Steelers brass this offseason than figuring out how to deal with—or to deal—wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown himself has made it difficult by being unresponsive, and even antagonistic, throughout the first several weeks of the offseason, but it seems that things have changed some since his meeting with Art Rooney II, after which the team agreed that it would attempt to find a trade for him that would work for them.
Reportedly, the Steelers at the time told him to stop hurting his trade value, and either he listened or he simply doesn’t feel the need to act out as much now that the team has made the decision to explore its option in dealing him to another team.
But while there are several obstacles in that process, among them is the perception of Brown as a personality, in the locker room and within the organization. General Manager Kevin Colbert was asked about this yesterday on Steelers Nation Radio.
Asked if Brown’s ‘image’ needs to be repaired in order to trade him he said, “not in our viewpoint. We know Antonio. I can’t speak for other teams. Antonio Brown is a great football player, not only in the game field but on the practice field. He’s a great competitor. He’s a highly emotional guy that hates to lose”.
“And that’s really the whole issue here, is he’s disappointed that we weren’t in the playoffs and he wasn’t a part of a chance to win the Super Bowl”, he added, admittedly losing the plot, because his issues certainly go beyond wins and losses. “I know that. We’re all disappointed. It’s horrible to be not involved and not meet the minimum criteria of at least competing in the playoffs”.
Regarding other matters, he said, “everything else, I know who he is. I know when he met with Mr. Rooney down in Florida, it was his idea to take the picture and to put out the little statement. He did that as soon as our meeting was over, he asked to do that, and he did it with no help from anyone else. So to me that’s the real Antonio Brown that we know”.
He did admit that their perception of Brown based on their personal experience won’t align with how other teams would view him from the outside. “Other teams, I don’t know everyone else’s players. We think we do, but until they’re in your locker room for several years, you don’t know how they’re gonna react in good times, bad, injury, whatever”, he said.