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‘I Just Want It To Be Over’: Remaining Steelers Ready To Move On From Antonio Brown Situation

“I just want it to be over”.

That is what one anonymous Pittsburgh Steelers player told Aditi Kinkhabwala yesterday after giving a sigh when asked if it was sad that Antonio Brown’s relationship with the team had deteriorated to the point in which both parties felt it was necessary for them to part company.

This player was said to have been an advocate of Brown’s, meaning one who supported the notion of a reconciliation between the two parties, one who believed that the wide receiver could step back into the locker room and be accepted as one of their own.

A number of prominent players from Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster to Cameron Heyward and Maurkice Pouncey have gone on record to say that they want Brown to come back and for everybody to work things out. It could have been any one of them—or it could have been somebody you don’t expect. We don’t know.

What we do know is that there were a lot of hurt feelings during the final week of the season. We saw multiple reports or accounts detailing the locker room of the Week 17 game, in which it was said that players were against the possibility of head coach Mike Tomlin allowing Brown to play after going AWOL.

But that is a moot point now, because Brown had a meeting with team president Art Rooney II yesterday, in which both parties came out of it feeling as though it would be in their collective best interests to move on from one another.

Now that it has been established that the Steelers will work  toward trading him, the task at hand is to sell him. The “iggest challenge for Antonio Brown right now will be proving that he will indeed respect his new club, his new coach and his new teammates”, Kinkhabwala wrote. “And as one of those execs said: respect, in his mind, includes showing up to meetings”.

She added that the best-case scenario for the Steelers is if they can convince potential trading partners that the behavior that Brown displayed in Pittsburgh was due to “mitigating circumstances”, that the “situation just got toxic for Antonio Brown and he can again be [the] ridiculously hard-working, productive, smiley guy he was”.

But she said that one front office executive she spoke to worries that he is going to be a headache for teams, something that Peter King also said. Brown may have forced this trade due to his behavior, but he has also made himself less desirable to trade for in the process, which could be bad for both himself and the Steelers.

But at least it will all be over soon, and everybody can move on. Brown will finish his Steelers career having played nine seasons and having put up some of the best numbers in team history. But he’ll have to continue chasing milestones in another city, and some he will never reach because of this, such as his numbers with Ben Roethlisberger.

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