Antonio Brown is finally going to speak with somebody who is a central figure with the Pittsburgh Steelers, for the first time since the regular season ended, according to reports. The wide receiver is said to have agreed to a face-to-face meeting with owner Art Rooney II, expected to take place next week.
But does it matter? Is there anything to salvage? Is either party still interested in repairing their relationship? I guess that is what we’re going to find out, soon enough.
The question I have, quite frankly, is what relationship exists between Brown and Rooney. We know that he and many others had a strong relationship with Dan Rooney, Art II’s father, but we here less about the current team owner’s interactions with players.
Not that he doesn’t follow a similar formula as his father did, and is a frequent presence around the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, accessible to all within the organization. We have heard from others such as Alejandro Villanueva, but generally when players or outsiders have talked about ‘the Rooneys’, they have been talking about Dan, who passed in 2017.
The thing is, if Brown really felt much of any loyalty or indebtedness or what have you toward Art II, he likely would have done something much earlier than now. Instead, he has watched the owner make a number of public statements in which he essentially asked Brown to pick up the phone, and he chose to ignore them.
He is even said to have originally turned down the most recent proposal to meet face-to-face, Rooney even going all the way down to Florida, where Brown spends much of his time. if Brown is seriously considering approaching this with an open mind about repairing his relationship with the team, he isn’t exactly doing his best to show it.
So the question that I have is, why is Brown going through with this? Is he genuinely showing respect to Rooney, albeit belatedly, to Rooney and the organization in an effort to talk out the situation, even if his intention is not for reconciliation but is still committed to moving on?
Or did he merely give in to public pressure after it was reported that he declined the invitation to meet? And, more pertinently, will the meeting actually happen? He was supposed to go through an interview multiple times, but that never happened either.
More cynically, perhaps it’s more a product of his desire to keep his name in the news cycle, and this way, we know that his saga extends at least into next week. That is when the meeting will reportedly take place, and the meeting will be the subject of debate for at least a few days more.
There’s that, and then there’s the reality that it helps to make him look better if he can give the impression that he is parting ways on good terms. Teams that might view him as problematic would be more open to bidding for him that way, including perhaps one of his preferred destinations.