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.