Art Rooney II: Antonio Brown return “hard to envision” right now

Getty Images

The prospect of the Steelers moving on without wide receiver Antonio Brown has been bandied about since the team benched him for Week 17 after missed practices and incidents with teammates over the final week of the regular season.

That chatter is not going to die down after an interview that Steelers president Art Rooney II gave to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday. Rooney said that it is “hard to envision” Brown being with the team for training camp right now while adding that there’s no reason to make any decisions right now.

He did add that salary cap ramifications related to trading Brown will not “box us into anything.”

“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.”

Giants co-owner John Mara put the possibility of a trade involving Odell Beckham on the table last offseason before the team wound up working out a long-term deal with the wideout. Whether that’s worked out as hoped or not, it is a sign that strong words at one point in the offseason can wind up being a prelude to things going the other way when push comes to shove.

It remains to be seen if such an outcome is in the cards in Pittsburgh, but, for now, the prospect of Brown wearing a different uniform feels more realistic than ever before.

81 responses to “Art Rooney II: Antonio Brown return “hard to envision” right now

  1. Tomlin should be wearing a different uniform too for letting things get this bad. He’s has no stones and let AB run rampant.

  2. Seattle should think about this. Steelers are paying all of his signing bonus. A superstar receiver would be great for their offense. Only drawback is that Brown thinks of himself as a runningback that needs atleast 16 targets/’touches’ per game.

  3. From AB to James Harrison to LeVeon, to Big Ben, this organization just isn’t the same as when Art Sr. (the Chief) was alive and Chuck Noll was coaching on the sidelines. Then again, this organization isn’t the only one affected by times changing–including cultures and economics. These changes affect all of professional sports and they’re here to stay. Get used to it.

  4. Only drawback is that Brown thinks of himself as a runningback that needs atleast 16 targets/’touches’ per game.

    Yes! But that’s a huge problem. It’s the #1 reason for the inconsistency of the offense. I would bet more than half of Ben’s INTs were balls forced to Brown. Brown’s selfishness hurts the team.

  5. I am waiting for the NE fans to chime in to say AB will take a pay cut to play with Brady and the Patriot’s front office will get him for a conditional 7th rounder in 2020.

    The trade has already been completed.

    Its just a matter of which jersey number he will choose…

  6. The Rooney’s know a little bit about how to run a football team. The Antonio Brown’s and Odell Beckham’s of the football world aren’t winners. The Rooney’s are winners.

  7. The Steelers haven’t won ANY championships WITH Brown. I’m not going to deny, I loved watching Brown play and he is a top 3 WR in the NFL, but he is replaceable. I’ve heard others say Big Ben needs to go, however, Franchise QB’s are WAYYYYYY harder to find than great WR’s. The Steelers need to worry about that Defense (I don’t care if they were 6th ranked statistically, stop saying that, Steeler fans are so wrapped up in stats) that gives up 16 point leads and loses games to sub par teams. Keith Butler needs to go ASAP!!!! or the Steelers will not even get close to the playoffs this year.

  8. AB And Tomlin both should be wearing different uniforms,both are bad for the Steeler Organization,wake up Mr Rooney it’s time to move on from these 2

  9. Aside from the AB issues … not a fan of the Steelers or any of their rivals, but it is getting confusing, as to why they are so hell-bent on this “coach loyalty” stuff. Three head coaches since 1969. Yeah, that’s admirable and all, but sometimes you need to cut the cord.

  10. He will reconcile rather than take the chance and end up trying to catch passes from some ratty armed quarterback not of his choosing or alongside a leaky O-line (Steelers ranked No 1 by Pro Football Focus at the end of the year) or with a coaching staff who will take him on.

    The guy reportedly has 12 sponsorship deals. I’m sure there is language that talks about detrimental PR. He’ll want to kiss and make up.

  11. “another words”^^


    He isn’t tradreable due to the cap hit. I mean, he is, but Pit will be forced to cut numerous other players and miss the postseason again next year.

    This diva issue is cancerous, however. It’s their own fault. Bell, Brown, etc..They are immature.

  12. Looney is the one who created this debacle of a team. I wouldn’t expect him to do anything to change that. Can’t wait for next season when the Squealers are squealing in the AFCN basement.

  13. Been a fan for a long time.
    I have my own opinions on AB that are more on the positive than negative side … basically suffering the consequence of being the hardest worker by far on the team, being an amazing talent and not winning the prize.
    After years of outworking everyone, he will look at all the other stars … Ben, TJ Watt, JuJu, Cam … and ask himself whether the outcome would be different if say TJ and Cam put in the same kind of hours he does (I pick on them because how often the defence has folded in the last couple of years).
    I am more empathetic to AB from this perspective.
    But I have never heard Rooney go that negative on a relationship before. Something in the background story here is much more impactful than what we have seen. The Steelers have put up with a lot of self centred superstars … hall of famers, Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Big Ben, etc. I do not recall any relationship being publicly painted in this dark a light before. Oh my.

  14. Early last week I felt certain that the Steelers would trade AB, cap hit and all. Now I’m not so sure. The interesting thing is the deafening quiet from AB in the ten days. He hasn’t fired back to the torrent of social media criticism and he never did that “interview” with James Harrison that was promised. I imagine that between now and the opening of trading a real effort to mend fences will be waged by players and coaches. Emotional immaturity aside, AB remains one of the hardest working, and best, receivers in the game and he’s become a star in the Steelers offense. It’s in the best interest of both sides for him to stay put.

  15. Seahawks are not a fit as they don’t pass the ball enough. The Saints would be the best fit for him. Chargers and maybe Packers, also. No matter who gets him, they’ll end up with a solid WR that needs to be the clear number 1 target, with solid team/role players as the #2/3WR.

  16. It is a nice thought that they could mend the rift, but it’s highly doubtful that will happen. Tomlin, and indirectly AR2, allowed all of the issues to carry over from year to year instead of immediately taking care of the problems. A proven, veteran QB is always going to have the coach’s ear, and for AB to use that, as well as not getting the MVP vote, as an EXCUSE for quitting on the team is telling. IMO, Tomlin has little chance of righting the ship, and no chance if AB returns. I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t see it any other way.

  17. There is no way Brown will be a Patriots. No 1 Who want such a selfish player and 2 There is no way the Steelers would, should or could trade him to a rival.

    As bad as I think our receivers are in New England I dont want him on our team at any price.

  18. The Steelers need to call him in and have a sit down to clear the air. That offense needs him and there is no one in the draft or free agency that can come close to his talent on the field. At least next year anyway.

  19. chawk12thman says:
    January 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm
    Seahawks are not a fit as they don’t pass the ball enough. The Saints would be the best fit for him. Chargers and maybe Packers, also. No matter who gets him, they’ll end up with a solid WR that needs to be the clear number 1 target, with solid team/role players as the #2/3WR.
    All Seattle has to do is bump their average pass per game to 30. Their receiver situation with an often injured Baldwin this past year would instantly be a top 4 crew with Lockett Brown and Dissly. Baldwin would obviously be a casualty one way of another to keep them from paying 3 different WR over 10 million a year. Russell Wilson is similar to Ben in that he tends to hit long passes on broken plays. Bottom line, the Seahawks need an upgrade at receiver. This would be one option if the Steelers want nothing to do with him anymore.

  20. With the salary cap set to grow at least another $10MM next season, that’ll help ease the pain a bit. Still a de facto $11-12MM hit but not as bad.

  21. I am not a fan of me-first egomaniacs or quitters and AB is both. Regarding the “coach loyalty” comment, stability is the key to consistency of values, which is central to both family and teams. Steelers are a WR machine, trade for elite defensive talent.

  22. Best thing I’ve read today. Didn’t really think the Steelers would be willing to take the cap hit for trading him. Thrilled to hear Rooney talk as though they are. JuJu can be the next Brown just as Brown was the next Wallace. Nothing would make me happier than to see Brown wind up with a subpar team to teach him how blessed he was to play with a top-flight QB, and the Steelers wind up with some valuable draft picks that translate to a better defensive backfield.

  23. I predict if he goes he will wind up with one of the other AFC north other teams for revenge,even if it’s a one year deal

  24. zeuslizard says:
    January 10, 2019 at 4:39 pm
    Sure would love to see Josh Allen throwing bombs to AB up in Buffalo!

    So he can quit on those Bills fans at halftime like Vontae Davis?! Oh wait, at least AB quits in an emotional hissy fit before the game (then has his mommy agent call the coach and say ‘He’s OK to play now, can he go out and play?’). While Buffalo needs a receiver like AB, they don’t need a quitter like AB.

  25. For Art Rooney II, that calm & measured statement was the equivalent of screaming from the rooftops. It was to the fan base more than anyone else. Ownership will dump Antonio Brown and absorb whatever cap hit that requires.

    Unfortunately, they will also keep Mike Tomlin. Steady hands, and all that.

  26. Tomlin cannot control his players. At all. Things started going bad for the Steelers when Tomlin blatantly TRIPPED an opposing player on the field of play and then blatantly lied about it. Sure he never admitted it was intentional and got away with it but you don’t think the players know what REALLY happened? Seriously? You don’t think the players lost ALL respect for him as an authority figure?

  27. Imagine the egos of cam newton, Antonio brown, and Le’Veon bell together?! THATS PATHETIC!

    I’m glad to be a Bostonian! If AB was a patriot and he pulled this, he would’ve been traded for draft chips and Belichick would’ve said “right transaction to improve this team. “ and it sure as hell would! That ego is ridiculous!

  28. Sooooo…… an all-pro wide receiver and all-pro running back, both in their primes have turned on a traditionally stable/well run organization. But it’s time to move on from both of them and keep the 2009 super bowl champ Tomlin who can’t keep his players in check? Hmmm. Good call!

  29. Terrible Analogies says:
    January 10, 2019 at 7:49 pm
    For Art Rooney II, that calm & measured statement was the equivalent of screaming from the rooftops. It was to the fan base more than anyone else. Ownership will dump Antonio Brown and absorb whatever cap hit that requires.
    Totally agree!Art needs to be careful if wants to get anything for him.

  30. What is “hard to envision” is this team ever living up to it’s potential under Tomlin. He lacks the ability to maintain order in his locker room. That is often overlooked when you are still performing at a high level but when your team melts down at the end of the year to miss the playoffs the way Pittsburgh did this year there need to be major changes in personnel, Tomlin needs to be held accountable for once.

  31. They should try trading him to the Panthers for their 1st round pick this year. Panthers get a clear #1 WR and he and Cam already have a relationship they work out regularly in the offseason. The Steelers get a 2nd 1st round pick and trade him to an NFC team that they wont play again until 2022. Win Win for both teams.

  32. Steelers always have a codependent relationship with their well known players. It’s easy to see them play nice with AB, all is forgiven, they give him a sweet bonus and everything will be sunshine and lollipops until the next blowup.

  33. thetooloftools says:
    January 10, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    Brown will look for greener pastures and end up eating stale hay. Who was the last Steelers wide out to leave and find great success?
    ___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Emmanuel Sanders has done alright.

  34. williamshatnerstoupee says:
    January 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    Hate incoming.

    Hurts when it’s someone you like. I remember 1986 as a Pats fan. Folks weren’t all that kind to us. Still aren’t now that I think about it. Honestly, I feel for true Steeler fans, this isn’t fun.

  35. It never ends well for divas and cancers who put themselves above the team and create public spectacles of themselves. Oh sure some teams will sign them now, but when they’re at the end of their careers and need a job, the phone calls to GMs will go unanswered ala TO, Chad Johnson, Tiki Barber, etc.

  36. People wonder why I am not into basketball any more. Like NFL wide receivers, many NBA players are divas also; trying to make a case for their having to have their certain number of shots per game. Huh? Basically, NBA teams have 15 wide receivers on each roster. As for NFL wide receivers; they need a reality check. Sadly, when this one’s career ends, we will be burdened with his ESPN analyst job for years to come.

  37. patsfan1820 says:
    January 10, 2019 at 9:15 pm
    Patriots wouldn’t want the headache. My guess is somewhere like Chicago or San Francisco.


    Yet they signed Gordon

  38. It’s “Hard to Envision” a once classy team with proud owners and coaches being reduced to a reality show.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.