Mike Tomlin not pleased with Antonio Brown for abandoning team in “darkest hour”

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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has confirmed many of the details regarding the Antonio Brown situation.

Meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Tomlin said that Brown had lower-body soreness last Wednesday (particularly in his knee), and that he was given the day off. On Friday, Brown said he still had pain. Tomlin sent Brown for an MRI, and directed him to go home after that and get off the leg. (Tomlin later admitted that Brown didn’t get the MRI.)

At that point, the door was open for Brown, who had been listed as questionable with a knee injury, to play. But he went radio silent at that point, with no further communication with the team on Friday and none on Saturday. On Sunday, agent Drew Rosenhaus contacted Tomlin, explaining that Brown was feeling better and hoped to play. Tomlin said that it was too late for Brown to play.

Brown and Tomlin met before the game, and Tomlin told Brown that he should attend the game to support the team. Tomlin couldn’t confirm that Brown left the game at halftime, because Tomlin simply wasn’t focusing on it.

It’s clear that Tomlin is focused on it now, and that he’s upset. He called the situation “something that’s very significant and will be handled appropriately so,” and it’s clear there will be some sort of discipline. But Tomlin stopped short of suggesting Brown won’t be back with the team in 2019.

“I’m not going to speculate on trades,” Tomlin said, adding that the Steelers haven’t received a request for a trade.

Regardless, Tomlin said the situation will be addressed and needs to be addressed, especially since Brown went AWOL at a time when the team was in its “darkest hour,” with a “significant game” looming and Brown disappearing in the hours leading up to it.

Moving forward, Tomlin made it clear that he’ll be more inclined to be strict with players in the future, acknowledging his own responsibility for the mess that he now must clean up, as another season of high expectations and championship potential ended with a failure to make it to the playoffs.

117 responses to “Mike Tomlin not pleased with Antonio Brown for abandoning team in “darkest hour”

  1. Tomlin won’t want Brown gone. With no Bell, and then no Brown, Tomlin knows his shot at playoff victories will be slim and none. Not a Steeler fan, but if I were, I might just take a #1 pick and all the cap room and move on….

  2. Mike Tomlin is the common denominator of this team failing each season. If it’s not Roethlisberger throwing picks, it’s Tomlin and him losing multiple challenges. He’s lost like the last 10 challenges. There won’t be much team chemistry if the leadership and discipline isn’t there. How many more times does this need to be said? The Steelers are going nowhere.

  3. I really can’t stand the Steelers. Didn’t always feel that way but Tomlin has a lot to do with it. His team is a reflection of his coaching and himself. All kinds of potential, BS attitude. That organization won’t be able to fix this absolute daytime soap opera until he is coaching for someone else.

  4. Coach has to be responsible but these aren’t kids, and should be expected to not be acting like kids. I wouldn’t trade Brown, but tie him to the front of a blocking sled.

  5. …Moving forward, Tomlin made it clear that he’ll be more inclined to be strict with players in the future…
    ——————————-

    Tomlin and the Steelers have been strict with players in the past, provided they viewed the player as replaceable. It was not too long ago the Steelers sent Blount packing (justifiably IMO) when he left the field in a tantrum during a game; of course they viewed Blount as replaceable.

    Unlikely they view Brown as replaceable at this point, but time will tell. JuJu has been very good, but how good will he be when the opponents are not double-teaming Brown on every play?

  6. I wonder how much more time Big Ben has. If he had 3-4 more years in him I would move on from Brown and not sweat it. They (Steelers) have shown the ability to find effective WR’s. They did it with Plaxico/Heinz, they did it with Bryant/Brown, and now they’ve found JuJu. They’ll find someone else. They’ve been able to do with it with RB’s too….Willie Parker, Mendenhall, Dwyer, Bell, then Conner, even tapping into DeAngelo Williams for a season.

    Ben is the central cog in the whole machine…….he’s the one they need to focus on either keeping healthy or replacing.

  7. I think Le’Veon Bell was a 2nd round pick and Antonio Brown was a 5th round pick. As long as you have a HOF QB, you don’t need high draft picks to compliment him. What round did they draft James Conner? The entire locker room is waiting to see what happens. They didn’t vote for Brown for team MVP and he had 15 TDs. They voted for the other WR. That says a lot. I think everyone in Pittsburgh is done with AB.

  8. Tomlin’s first mistake was not badmouthing Antonio Brown in early morning tweets during the week. He could’ve tweeted that Brown is a loser and a fake receiver. Yeah, that would’ve fixed everything and Tomlin would be King.

  9. No need to make a decision on AB now. Never know what a team might offer for AB. You have to think the floor is the Amari Cooper trade. The ceiling Khalil Mack. Don’t trade AB just to trade him. But, if the right offer comes around, have to at least consider it

  10. How Tomlin handles this will define the rest of his career with the Steelers. It is clear that he has been too laid back in managing the players and now he needs to lead.

  11. Some of this is on Tomlin, but only to a degree. These are supposed to be adults and professionals so ultimately they should be the ones held accountable.

    Whether he was playing or not, his employer gets to decide what he does during those hours. I would fine him a game check for bailing on his team – at the bare minimum.

  12. Darkest hour, Trippy? Uh, would that be when you and your team were all gazing at the stadium screen, watching and rooting for the Browns to come back against the Ravens?

  13. rkt4mayor says:

    January 2, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    They stupidly will refuse to trade him until he pulls the Leveon Bell twist on them.

    If they stupidly trade him before June 1, AB counts $21 million in dead cap money for 2019.

  14. Man, these Steelers are so full of drama I can’t figure out where to turn for my daily entertainment fix, the White House or the Steelers locker room. Either way, it’s like reading a thriller novel in a foreign language you don’t know.

  15. I highly doubt any team will offer a first round pick for Brown give the baggage and the contract he already has. If they do the Steelers should bite the hand off any team that makes that offer.

    Tomlin needs to change his approach. He is not as bad as some make him out to be and nor is he as good as certain sections of the fan base suggest he is. This is generally speaking a well run franchise it breaks down with the head coach and his relationships with players and it is fixable with some will to do so.

  16. Call me old school, but why wouldn’t Tomlin have held off on publicly commenting until after he’d doled out some punishment? Instead, he comes saying he doesn’t like it and will be looking into punishment? That is as lame as it gets.

  17. Ah yes, the saints of the world are here to criticize as always. Name one coach who doesn’t have to deal with drama. When you deal with 45 different personalities this what you get. So, let me get this right, Bell didn’t sign his Tag and Brown had a few outburst and the criticism is that Tomlin is running a loose ship. Okay. lol.

    Let’s move up east where, the offseason for the Pats started with Trade rumors about Gronk, to their Wideout falling a drug test, to them trading for a player who has failed many drug test and decided not to show up for work. then few weeks before the season ended, he quit on the team. Man, that Belichik, he runs a loose ship. get a life folks. lol

  18. First step is owning his part in the messy situation. He did that, good. If he is tight lipped usually and for a reason but lets his players loose talk, what is the point. Hope he follows thorough with player discipline.

  19. I can’t believe this is all playing out in public. All teams have their issues however, no team seems to do it quite like Pittsburgh . Until they address whatever the issues are there they aren’t going to win anything.

  20. Excuses again. Btw. They won the game against the bengals..barely. just shows how talent has made Tomlin look like a good coach.
    Glad he is saying he will be more of a disciplinarian now. Start with the man in the mirror.

  21. So glad this is now cleared up! Wow, let’s just resume normal football operations. Steelers are a disgrace in how they are handling their players the last few years.

  22. Does something like going AWOL cancelled out any guarantees to his contract? If so I say that would make him easier to trade and cut bait. It’s obvious things aren’t going to get better.

  23. “667s650w says:
    January 2, 2019 at 1:12 pm
    People saying just cut or trade Brown have zero understanding of his cap and bonus structure.”

    I’m a Steeler fan and I am in the “Explore the trade options” camp. He will be a 21 million dollar cap hit, which is tough for one season. However, they will have the cap space to aborb that hit next year. Shazier will be off the books at 9 million. Lev Bell wil be off the books for 14.5 million and the salary cap is going up. They can absorb Browns hit next offseason and gain draft capital. I would only be trading him for a first round pick or more. Whatever team he goes to is looking at an All Pro WR at 3 years/40 million and no guaranteed money, which is a steal.

  24. “mogogo1 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 1:10 pm
    Call me old school, but why wouldn’t Tomlin have held off on publicly commenting until after he’d doled out some punishment?”

    He benched him for his actions.
    He was punished. At this point the punishment he is talking about is all the drama that this has led to.

  25. Pittsburgh fans are not happy that the Rooneys abandoned the team in their darkest hour by allowing Tomlin to continue to coach.

  26. JuJu blew the season and people are mad at AB. The last game didn’t matter at all. It only was close bc Harbaugh is nearly as clueless about game management as Tomlin

  27. “It’s clear that Tomlin is focused on it now, and that he’s upset. He called the situation “something that’s very significant and will be handled appropriately so,” and it’s clear there will be some sort of discipline. But Tomlin stopped short of suggesting Brown won’t be back with the team in 2019.”

    That’s it, the Head Cheerleader is pissed, he’ll be benched for the first snap on opening day.

    Enough is enough.

  28. He’s over played his hand. He will be 31 at the start of the next season and now is confirmed as a lockerroom cancer. Most teams will stay away, sure maybe one or two will be desperate, but does AB really want to play for some QB powerhouse like the Jaguars? Brown should try and apologize to the whole organization as Pittsburgh is the best place for him.

  29. Tomlin said Brown got an MRI, later he admitted he didn’t get a MRI.

    So he clearly lied to the reporters.

    So who believes anything Tomlin said? I know I don’t, and won’t in the future.

  30. Browns a Steelers for life. He’s going nowhere despite the drama again. The Steelers should keep Bell as long as possible just to make his offseason miserable.

  31. “patriots123456 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 1:49 pm
    Tomlin said Brown got an MRI, later he admitted he didn’t get a MRI.”

    He said he ordered him to go get an MRI on Friday and go home. He said later than Brown did not go for the MRI.
    I’m sure the difference is really hard to understand for you.

  32. If it’s true that Brown asked to be traded, what good will disciplining him do now? Who wants a guy who no longer wants to be there, no matter how good he is? Tomlin needs to grab the reins of this team away from Roethlisberger and be THE BOSS. That is his job.

  33. Isn’t this the Same Antonio Brown that live streamed Tomlins post game team speech and only got fined $10,000 by the team…. You reap what you sow people…. No team discipline, no Championships.

  34. chickensalad43 says:

    Mike Tomlin – the Mike McCarthy of the AFC.
    ___________________________

    That’s harsh. I’ve lived my team tolerating mediocrity under McCarthy for too long. I don’t think Tomlin even comes close. The Steelers had a down year, but I’d gladly welcome him to GB if he became available.

  35. Discipline? Tomlin. You’ve got to be kidding. He doesn’t have the stones to do anything. He won’t do anything because he has no backbone. It’s a little late to try to stop it since he’s been enabling it for the past several years–including lying about being injured so AB wouldn’t look any worse than he does now. Tomlin has squandered yet another year with a team loaded with talent. Too bad that talent doesn’t include the head coach.

  36. Honestly good for Tomlin, not letting the star player kick and scream while doing what they want and expect to get their way…proves that the team is willing to play without him on the roster. Don’t want Brown in any uniform other than a Steelers jersey but if he’s going to act like Santonio Holmes then show him the door!

  37. 5 day in window in March before roster bonus to minimize cap hit and trade him. There will be a team with that one piece missing that could pony up a 1st rounder. If so, good riddance.

  38. I would say that the Steeler’s “darkest hour” came last year when Ryan Shazier was lying motionless on the field. Not making the playoffs is very disappointing, especially when you need help from Cleveland to get there. I would say that’s pretty dramatic to call Brown’s antics their “darkest hour”, but it’s the Steelers. They don’t know how to keep things in-house.

  39. gpclaw says:
    January 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm
    No need to make a decision on AB now. Never know what a team might offer for AB. You have to think the floor is the Amari Cooper trade. The ceiling Khalil Mack. Don’t trade AB just to trade him. But, if the right offer comes around, have to at least consider it

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Lol. Brown is turning 31 this summer!! No one is going to give up that kind of package for him.

  40. bradygirl12 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    I would say that the Steeler’s “darkest hour” came last year when Ryan Shazier was lying motionless on the field. …

    ————

    I’m sure Mike Tomlin would agree with you. He wasn’t asked to compare AB’s little Cinderella breakdown versus Ryan Shazier very nearly getting paralyzed for life. There’s no need to let anti-Steelers bias get that crazy, my friend.

    Hyperbole is Tomlin’s way. It was just the “darkest hour” while trying to make the 2018 playoffs, okay.

  41. Browns a Steelers for life. He’s going nowhere despite the drama again.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    Your predictions have been so wrong this season it’s laughable – guarantees AB is traded before next season

  42. “Moving forward, Tomlin made it clear that he’ll be more inclined to be strict with players in the future, acknowledging his own responsibility for the mess that he now must clean up, as another season of high expectations and championship potential ended with a failure to make it to the playoffs.”
    ——————————————-

    That, right there, is the problem. He’s just now realizing he’s the enabler. Good luck reigning the malcontents in now. I hope I’m wrong, but I believe we can expect more of the same next year. However, a Brown trade (doubt it will happen), would send the strongest “the party is over” message that the players have seen for many years.

  43. If a player were to pull that crap against his Patriots Team, their coach would ship his butt out before he could whine to his agent. And as a fan, that is just perfect in my opinion.

  44. I hope the raiders don’t trade for him. I know he had the “Quad” injury during training camp, but he looked slower this year. I think he is on the decline.

  45. MyCommentIsAwaitingModeration says:

    January 2, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Some of this is on Tomlin, but only to a degree. These are supposed to be adults and professionals so ultimately they should be the ones held accountable.
    ===========================================
    I dunno. He reminds me of someone who wants to win so bad he losses his mind at times. Stepping on the field during a play, clock mgt. challenges, etc. Simply a pass-the-buck kind of guy. He has to try and cheat to win. Not his players as much as him. Him stepping on the field should be all that needs to be seen. Failure, period.

  46. Terrible Analogies says:

    January 2, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    bradygirl12 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    I would say that the Steeler’s “darkest hour” came last year when Ryan Shazier was lying motionless on the field. …

    ————

    I’m sure Mike Tomlin would agree with you. He wasn’t asked to compare AB’s little Cinderella breakdown versus Ryan Shazier very nearly getting paralyzed for life. There’s no need to let anti-Steelers bias get that crazy, my friend.

    Hyperbole is Tomlin’s way. It was just the “darkest hour” while trying to make the 2018 playoffs, okay

    ___________________________________________

    It still came off as overly dramatic, hyperbole or not.

  47. This is now the NFL. A bunch of entitled divas, very few who are willing to sacrifice for their team. Kinda ironic, since most of them are left wingers who embrace socialism, yet when it comes to their own lives, they don’t really believe in the collective effort.

  48. If the Steelers were smart they’d trade Brown for all they could get and then fire Tomlin but knowing them they’ll both be back next season.
    —————————————————

    There is one huge problem to your solution. He is guaranteed 21 million and that is all against Pittsburgs cap hit even if they try to trade him. The Steelers are stuck for at leastthe 2019-20 seasons. He is going no where…

  49. steelpenguin6687 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 3:04 pm
    “Moving forward, Tomlin made it clear that he’ll be more inclined to be strict with players in the future, acknowledging his own responsibility for the mess that he now must clean up, as another season of high expectations and championship potential ended with a failure to make it to the playoffs.”
    ——————————————-

    That, right there, is the problem. He’s just now realizing he’s the enabler.

    Strike “realizing” and add “admitting” and we’re saying the same thing. He’s too smart not to have realized a while ago but not strong enough to admit it.

  50. Not really darkest hour. More like in their after hours. Steelers were all closed up after the NO loss

  51. Your predictions have been so wrong this season it’s laughable – guarantees AB is traded before next season

    Well at least his predictions are just this year….you on the other hand are a different matter.

    Brown will be back but he will be under a much tighter rein than before.

  52. Clearly, the Steelers can create more drama. They seem act like this leads to enhanced productivity somehow.

    Why don’t we ask what their wives & significant others think?

  53. If I liked the Steelers (I don’t), I’d hope they can trade this guy and eat the cap charge. Then the minute he’s gone I’d start torching him in the media with leaks about all of his drama. Since I don’t like the Steelers, I hope they keep him around to poison next year’s team.

  54. This whole exercise was Tomlin trying to justify putting Brown on the injury report when he didn’t belong there. Just to cover up the drama. HCs don’t tell players to get MRIs, and players don’t blow it off when the team doctor does. I can imagine all you yahoos if the Pats had done had done this in a game with playoff implications. Where’s the NFL and Ted Wells? steelers are out and they deserve it. They’ll be lucky to get 3rd in their division next year.

  55. What their darkest hour has been under Tomlin deserves its own article/poll. Other candidates include getting swept at home by the Jaguars, and that time they tried a fake snap against Bill Belichick but instead threw it into quadruple coverage because Bill Belichick.

  56. Tomlin’s whole presser was double talk trying to avoid getting fined for fabricating the injury to cover the discipline for the incident with Ben

  57. Sure Tomlin can come in like a hard__ next year with a “my kindness was mistaken for weakness” attitude, but that would be too fake. If they really wanted to send a message, fire him and hire Gregg Williams to bring some discipline to the team.

  58. Whatever team he goes to is looking at an All Pro WR at 3 years/40 million and no guaranteed money, which is a steal.
    ******************************************

    Or, AB decides to hold out because he has no guaranteed money and the team that traded for him gets screwed…

  59. I think the trade speculation is nonsense. Given his tantrums, contract, and while not declining still getting later in his shelf life other teams are only going to be willing to give so much for him. Meanwhile because of the cap hit they eat either way plus just how good he can be when hes not destructing the Steelers would need some team to pony up to a stupid level before they would even consider it. While its tough the challenge he is presenting, its still the better deal for the Steelers to just forge ahead and hope they can turn this situation around.

  60. zibet says:
    January 2, 2019 at 1:42 pm
    JuJu blew the season and people are mad at AB. The last game didn’t matter at all. It only was close bc Harbaugh is nearly as clueless about game management as Tomlin

    ———————
    Im gonna suggest that Juju did far more benefit for that team than one single tough moment took away. That kid is a baller with a future.

  61. As a Ravens fan knowing how good that offense is when hitting on all cylinders – amazing that they didnt make the Playoffs – this level of disfunction with Brown and Bell makes it a little clearer – not sure where you go from here with Brown because his contract will be hard to do much with – the Cap Space issue will be a tough one

  62. nfliferfan22 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 12:35 pm
    We’ll take your headache

    Signed San Fran fan!
    __________________________________________

    Yeah, give the locker right to Reuben Fosters.

  63. not surprising to hear Coach Tomlin describe AB’s latest *me first* moment as abandoning the team in their “darkest hours” but it’s nothing new,the live FB broadcast should have gotten him traded no matter how good he is this latest stunt PLUS not responding to calls from both coach T or Rooney… final straw. hopefully Brown and Le’Veon Bell’s ignorant actions this season is the last time the steelers franchise puts up with such foolishness … worse part, neither helped win the 7th lombardi trophy so just flush them already,draft another WR & RB and regroup

  64. steelcurtainn says:
    January 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm
    After all this the Steelers still remain a winning organization. They’ll be on top competing for a championship next year too.

    “too”? They are not competing for one this year. Maybe “again” but not “too”.

  65. If coaching was parenting, Coach Tomlin would be the “cool” one all the teens hang out at because he “gets” their teen-angst and doesn’t mind if they sneak some beers etc.

    There’s a downside to that strategy.

  66. Moving forward, Tomlin made it clear that he’ll be more inclined to be strict with players in the future, acknowledging his own responsibility for the mess that he now must clean up
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Translation: Tomlin had a WTF!? type conversation with ownership and is on shaky ground (at best) and wants to look like he is finally in control.

  67. It starts with a player, when you draft him you evaluate his talent
    and his intangibles. The Steelers failed on both Big Ben and Brown.
    Both have huge ego”s. Ben pretends to,work hard and Brown just
    has too much going on off the field.
    Then you add in Tomlin who allowed players like Porter and
    Harrison to run the room ( Ben had no credilblity in the room)
    add in a weak yes-man owner, Artie Rooney, and you have a franchise in
    Decline.
    It’s a shame.Dan Rooney was a fine owner. Maybe his grandson and
    namesake will bring back some class to a once proud franshise.

  68. daramsman says:
    January 2, 2019 at 3:55 pm
    If the Steelers were smart they’d trade Brown for all they could get and then fire Tomlin but knowing them they’ll both be back next season.
    —————————————————

    There is one huge problem to your solution. He is guaranteed 21 million and that is all against Pittsburgs cap hit even if they try to trade him. The Steelers are stuck for at leastthe 2019-20 seasons. He is going no where…
    ——————–
    The team that receives a player in a trade takes on the players contract and cap hit not the team that traded him away, unless a team agrees to pay a percentage of the contract. If the Steelers were to trade Brown they’d clear that salary and cap hit off their books.

  69. The Steelers didn’t miss a beat w/o Mike Wallace, then Bryant. Then Bells holdout came. Conner did a fine job. JuJu isn’t AB but can fill his shoes more then enough. Hate Big Ben all you want but is the cog that makes Pittsburgh go ..

  70. Ha! All you clowns seem to think that it is the coach’s job to babysit all of these grown adults, and it is Mike Tomlins fault, because he wasn’t a good enough disciplinarian? Get over yourselves! They are grown adults with “grown adult” responsibilities! It is the head coach’s job to put all of the small pieces together, and make one large successful piece out of the whole group! Antics like that of Mr. Brown should be written into every contract, as a protection to any franchise! Antonio is welcome to go cook burgers down at the local diner! Im sure they will be just as tolerant of his ridiculous behavior, and then he would have to find a new venue to go cook for! STOP BLAMING THE COACH for idiots that no proper business or management group could possibly control!

  71. styro1 says:
    January 2, 2019 at 9:59 pm
    daramsman says:
    January 2, 2019 at 3:55 pm
    If the Steelers were smart they’d trade Brown for all they could get and then fire Tomlin but knowing them they’ll both be back next season.
    —————————————————

    There is one huge problem to your solution. He is guaranteed 21 million and that is all against Pittsburgs cap hit even if they try to trade him. The Steelers are stuck for at leastthe 2019-20 seasons. He is going no where…
    ——————–
    The team that receives a player in a trade takes on the players contract and cap hit not the team that traded him away, unless a team agrees to pay a percentage of the contract. If the Steelers were to trade Brown they’d clear that salary and cap hit off their books.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wrong. His bonus was paid but the cap hit was spread out over each year of the contract. The team he is traded to has no bearing over that. They just assume the unpaid contract. The Steelers would immediately be responsible for the remaining cap hit (spread out bonus) in 2019. By trading after June 1, they can split pay that in 2019 and 2020 instead of doing it all in 2019.

  72. footballseasonrules says:
    January 2, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Mike Tomlin is the common denominator of this team failing each season. If it’s not Roethlisberger throwing picks, it’s Tomlin and him losing multiple challenges. He’s lost like the last 10 challenges. There won’t be much team chemistry if the leadership and discipline isn’t there. How many more times does this need to be said? The Steelers are going nowhere.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Losing challenges doesn’t mean much when Al Riveron runs the Replay Center.

    He too often cops out with “call stands” instead of making the right call. I can think of a few Tomlin challenges that were lost that clearly should have gone the other way, including a punt that hit a Browns player week one and a spot challenge against the Chargers on a third down play. Philbin of Green Bay blowing both challenges in like the first three plays against Atlanta stands out as well, although he should have only won the first one.

  73. Coffeehog says:
    January 2, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    steelcurtainn says:
    January 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm
    After all this the Steelers still remain a winning organization. They’ll be on top competing for a championship next year too.

    “too”? They are not competing for one this year. Maybe “again” but not “too”.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Unfortunately we have the NFL officials to blame for that one.

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