The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will play in the NFL again.
Explanation: 14 months ago, Antonio Brown had it made. He was beloved for the most part despite being a shithead behind the scenes. But he let everyone know who he really is since then, and it’s all blown up in his face. He forced the Steelers to trade him, and then has been released twice since, almost entirely ostracized from the NFL. The one tryout he did get he turned into a spectacle. He’s even been arrested since then and is facing trial, so he could end up in prison, in theory.
This is an open question not limited to the 2020 season, so the answer could still be in the affirmative if he plays in 2030. And frankly, the league has a way of forgiving just about everybody who is good enough to play. If Ray Rice averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his final season, he probably would have gotten another job after video surfaced of him punching his fiancée in the head and knocking her unconscious, then dragging her body out of the elevator.
There’s little video of anything that Brown has done, and that’s what actually gets people to care. Too many people don’t care that he is accused of raping somebody. Nobody saw him punch the driver of the moving van. It’s just words.
And the last time he stepped on the field for the Steelers, he was still one of the greatest football players on the planet. He’s not so far removed from that that he won’t get another chance, probably this season, for some team looking to make a splash, as long as he keeps apologizing and stops saying too many stupid things.
There are few players in NFL history who have ever made themselves as toxic and poisonous as Brown. It’s really quite amazing in retrospect how he is associated with the Steelers, and hard to believe how much he got away with behind the scenes.
Sure, a lot of horrible people have been given second and third chances in the NFL. Even the stupid ass New Orleans Saints for some reason allowed him to have a tryout, which still makes me shake my head.
That was before he was arrested. He has way too many incidents. By the time anybody would be able to feel any level of comfort about his mental health, assuming he doesn’t serve time, and assuming he can get off the exempt list, he’ll be too far removed from his playing days for them to believe he’ll still be a significant asset worth the headaches it would create bringing him into the locker room and in front of the media.