Antonio Brown did not play in the season finale for the Pittsburgh Steelers after skipping practices the week before the game and he may not ever play for the Steel City again.
On Thursday, Steelers owner Art Rooney II ripped into Brown while speaking with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and made it clear the team is willing to move on from the mercurial wide receiver if that is what needs to happen.
Rooney said the team would not go as far as outright releasing Brown, but did say it was “hard to envision” the best receiver in franchise history being back in Pittsburgh in 2019.
“There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney said. “We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table. Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we’re a long way away from thinking that can happen. We’re not closing the door on anything at this point.”
Adding to the weight of Rooney’s remarks is a report Brown has ignored and refused to return multiple phone calls from the owner and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. The sides have reportedly not spoken since Week 17 when Brown was on the sidelines watching his team.
If the Steelers do deal Brown, it will likely be in early March as he is due a $2.5 million roster bonus on March 17. With the Steelers already on the hook for Brown’s $21.2 million cap hit next season, they’ll likely want to deal him before the 17th to avoid committing any more money to him.