Good news, Steelers fans. Receiver Antonio Brown returned to practice on Saturday after going home on Friday with an illness.
That’s the word from Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Media, who reports that Brown participated in the walk-through. A couple of unnamed teammates told Kinkhabwala that Brown “looked fully healthy.”
But it’s one thing to be fully healthy during a less-than-intense practice as it relates to the illness that prompted him to be listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. It’s quite another to be fully healthy during a less-than-intense practice as it relates to a partially torn calf muscle suffered 27 days ago. Brown remains on the injury report as questionable with both an illness and the calf, a source told PFT on Friday night that Brown remains a game-time decision due to lingering problems with the injured calf.
Last year, the Steelers hid running back Le'Veon Bell‘s groin injury throughout the postseason, and they ultimately suffered no consequence for it when Bell exited the AFC title game prematurely. This year, the Steelers have at least disclosed the injury (how could they hide it?). That said, “questionable” is a broad category, and plenty of players listed as “questionable” end up not playing. Brown, if he’s “fully healthy,” shouldn’t be questionable; he should be removed from the injury report.
That hasn’t happened. And it likely won’t.
With Brown being such a key component of the Pittsburgh offense — he caught 10 passes for 157 yards when the Steelers faced the Jaguars in October — it makes sense for the Steelers to keep their cards as close to the vest as long as possible.