Rumors of a reunion between free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been abundant this week. This is mainly due to a tweet sent out from Brown himself, expressing that he wants to retire as a Steeler.
It wasn’t clear if Brown meant that he wanted to retire as a Steeler after signing a 1-day contract, or if he is interested in giving it another go this upcoming season. Steelers Head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t care to find out his intentions and put the rumors to rest in a very blunt manner.
“Y’all know that ain’t happening. In terms of putting a helmet on and running out of the tunnel and playing ball and stuff like that, man. You know he’s moved on, and we’ve moved on. We can sit around and chop that up like it’s a realistic conversation, but we know that’s not realistic.”Mike Tomlin to Sports Illustrated
The Steelers have clearly moved in another direction and are not willing to give their once league-leading receiver one last shot. While it may sound harsh, this comes after years of watching Brown spiral out of control which led to legal troubles and time away from the NFL.
With the Steelers Brown accumulated over 11,000 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns in a 9-year span. Due to his performance, he earned All-Pro honors for 4 straight seasons from 2014-2017. The Steelers won 1 Super Bowl in 2011 while Antonio Brown was on the roster. He had 1108 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns in the Super Bowl season.
Antonio Brown after Pittsburgh
Things went south for Brown in a hurry after he left the Steelers organization. He had legal battle after battle and simply could not stay out of trouble. He ended up on the New England Patriots which everyone thought was an environment he would thrive. His constant legal troubles kept that from ever coming to fruition. Many thought he was done.
Brown then ended up in Tampa Bay after Tom Brady put in a good word. This seemed to be going decent until he quit on the team and left during the game after making a big scene.
Tomlin did have praise for Antonio Brown despite the earlier comments.
“What I’ll say about AB is this man, we had nine great years. I appreciate that dude in ways I can’t explain to y’all. I won’t even bother to attempt to explain to y’all because it sounds like I’m defending him in some way. And to me, from that standpoint, the nature of our relationship and what we all did together requires no defense. You could digest it however you want to digest it. I don’t think enough gets said about the will of that dude. About the work ethic of that dude. About the fearlessness that he played the game.”Mike Tomlin to Sports Illustrated
Mixed feelings from fans
There were Steelers fans who wanted to bring Brown back for one more run while some fans absolutely despised the idea.
This was the most liked reply to Brown’s tweet which may indicate the most popular feeling.
Other fans were ready to relive the glory days.
While a reunion with the Steelers is unlikely we will wait to find out in Brown plays for another team this upcoming season.