As you can probably imagine, several NFL head coaches and general managers are being asked during their respective combine press conferences this week if they would have any interest in trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. For the most part, most of the answers that have been given have either sidestepped the question or been denials of any interest.
On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told the media that neither he or his team had reached out to the Steelers about possibly trading for Brown and on Thursday the team’s general manager, John Lynch, did the same.
“We have not,” Lynch said when asked if the 49ers have had any contact with the Steelers about acquiring Brown from the Steelers. “It’s funny, the world we live in where one tweet from a player to another turns into interest and all of that, but, hey, that is the world we live in. I can tell you that, like every team in this league, we think the guy’s a heck of a football player, but we have not had talks with the Steelers. I can tell you that.”
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was also asked about the prospects of his team possibly trading for Brown in the coming weeks and he did a great job of sidelining the question.
“Well, I don’t like veteran players, so I’ll just leave it at that,” Gruden said jokingly when asked about acquiring Brown. “I’m not going to speculate about anybody. We are going to look at every vehicle possible. Certainly, the financial aspect of every acquisition has to be considered, but we are going to look into everybody’s availability and what is best for our team.”
Even Browns general manager John Dorsey was asked Thursday during his press conference about possibly acquiring Brown from the Steelers.
“I’m not going to talk about another team’s players, but Kevin [Colbert], if you’re out there, here’s my cell phone right here.”
On Wednesday, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan did a great job of sidestepping a trade-related question about Brown as well.
“You know my policy is I pretty much call everybody at some point in time about every name that flies out there just to see,” Maccagnan said. “But I would say simply this: You know, that’s something I — you know, again we haven’t really ventured that far into yet — so, simply put, it’s like at this point in time we’re sort of evaluating the free-agency market, not the trade market, and we’ll see how that one unfolds.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said on Wednesday they have not had any discussions about trading for Brown.
“We have not had any discussion about trading for Antonio Brown,” Licht said.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel had an interesting answer when asked a more indirect question about Brown and about bringing in a personality such as his from the outside.
“I think the one thing that is a clear message to our team that I try to tell them is that we’re going to treat you the same way you treat the team,” Vrabel said. “And it’s an easy way to say that we treat everybody fairly, but we treat them differently. There’s a lot of things that you can put up with as a coach and a team, and there’s some things that you can’t. I think that it’s important that any time you bring in somebody from outside the organization, whether that it be in free agency or you trade for a player, you just have to make sure that you know and are comfortable with what you’re getting. That’s the tough part.
“We spend a lot more time in the draft and the post-draft process than we do in free agency because really we just don’t know. You’re only watching the tape. Yeah, you can have them in for a visit, but sometimes these deals are done well before there’s some visit or some dinner or some handshake.”
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich also hinted on Wednesday that Brown wouldn’t be welcomed on his team this offseason.
“I think we’re a team on the rise, and I think the reason is we got the right players in that locker room,” Reich said Wednesday. “That culture starts with the guys in that locker room. It’s not open to just anybody. That locker room is not just open to any great player. You gotta be the right guy, the right player, you gotta wanna join the other players on this team on the mission that we’re on, to get to the top of the mountain.”
I’ll continue to add quotes and video to this post but on the surface, and not surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of teams lining up to trade for Brown. Despite that, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said on Wednesday during his press conference that there is growing interest in Brown since he said last week that three teams had called him to inquire about the wide receiver.