Mike Tomlin refers to Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell departures as a “cleansing”

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The Steelers didn’t have running back Le'Veon Bell for all of 2018. They won’t have Bell or receiver Antonio Brown for 2019, and beyond. Their coach apparently sees that as a good thing.

Appearing on ESPN’s draft coverage over the weekend, Mike Tomlin said this when asked about the offseason departures of Bell and Brown: “There’s been a cleansing, if you will.

I will not. I will regard the fact that Bell and Brown are gone as avoidable consequences of the manner in which the Steelers do business. If the Steelers, who applied the franchise tag to Le’Veon Bell for two straight years, were willing to structure long-term deals the way that other teams do, Bell would be entering the third year of a long-term contract. And if the Steelers, who selected Brown in the sixth-round of the 2010 draft, had been willing to hold him accountable once he became a great player, Brown wouldn’t have even considering making a power play that forced the Steelers to give him away for a third- and fifth-round draft choice.

As to Bell, it’s definitely not Tomlin’s fault. As to Brown, it definitely is. Either way, the team wouldn’t have needed a “cleansing” if the team had known how to clean as it went. The only question moving forward is whether it’s learned from its mistakes or, if not, whether and when recent history will repeat itself.

31 responses to “Mike Tomlin refers to Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell departures as a “cleansing”

  1. Makes it sound like a high colonic. In this case, that would probably be the most appropriate way to describe it.

  2. I agree the Steelers made mistakes with their handling of Brown. He was given too much leeway over the years and in the end, it cost the Steelers a great player with very little in return. But Bell is a completely different story. They made him a fair offer twice over two years. The fact he chose not to sign it is not the Steelers fault. The contract he eventually did sign with the Jets proves it was more than fair. The cap went up significantly over 3 years, but he actually is making less than he would with the Steelers. The only mistake the Steelers made with Bell was offering him a long term contract in the first place.

  3. I will. This was addition through subtraction and I would bet the Jets have a similar cleansing next offseason and the Browns the year after.

  4. They decided Bell isn’t worth what he asked for and they have a much cheaper replacement with similar stats.

    As for Brown, he’s 30, and he isn’t worth the diva headaches at that age.

  5. They decided Bell isn’t worth what he asked for and they have a much cheaper replacement with similar stats.

    As for Brown, he’s 30, and he isn’t worth the diva headaches at that age.

  6. The Skins did not treat Kirk Cousins any different than the Steelers treated Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers operated within the rules of the NFL. Cousins did not hold out. He played under the franchise tag for 2 years and became a free agent. Le’Veon Bell, OTOH, not only held out, but he badmouthed the team, telling people that the Steelers did not want him to play video games. I do not blame coach Tomlin for calling it a cleansing.

  7. And Tomlin is on his last chance, he won’t be here if they don’t make the playoffs or if this kind of crap happens again. He’s on his last chance.

  8. “And if the Steelers, who selected Brown in the sixth-round of the 2010 draft, had been willing to hold him accountable once he became a great player, Brown wouldn’t have even considering making a power play that forced the Steelers to give him away for a third- and fifth-round draft choice.”. I didn’t know you could see alternate futures, Dr. Strange. Maybe Brown wouldn’t have thrived in a controlled environment. Maybe he would have blown up earlier. We don’t know. What we do know is that he continued to throw shade for no reason even after he got what he wanted and went after Juju for no reason. Really shows who he is. Glad I don’t have to root for him anymore.

  9. If Bell hadn’t violated the substance abuse policy entering year 3 and year 4 of his rookie contract (putting himself one poor decision away from a year long ban), Bell would likely be entering year 4 or 5 of a long term deal, and negotiating his a second free agent contract.

  10. the WRONG two guys got cleansed.

    Next up: Tomlin and Old Ben reuniting in Cincinnati for a nostalgia tour.

  11. Given how the Steelers have lost no significant player to free agency in almost forever, I can see why you blame their contract negotiation as the problem. They’ve kept almost every significant player, drafted under Colbert, using the same approach they used with Bell. And in spite of your attempts to spin it otherwise, Bell turned down a richer offer from the Steelers than the one he received from the Jets.

    As for Brown, the Steelers could have done more to manage this nightmare. But I doubt AB was going to play along. We’ve seen enough from him to know he’s the real problem.

  12. Thanks for the laughs. One of which is the old if the Steelers “were willing to structure long-term deals the way that other teams do” nonsense. You do realize the Steelers are not the only team that structures contracts in the manner that they do, right? How many teams, that give away the farm via huge multiyear guaranteed contracts, that haven’t had a losing season since 2003, come to mind? Yeah, I can’t think of any either. The Patriots, arguably the best team over the last 16/17 years (in terms of SB wins) don’t do huge multiyear guaranteed deals either. The difference is, BB gets rid of guys that don’t want to follow the plan, BEFORE they have a chance to divide the team.

  13. Name one team that has won a Super Bowl with a bunch of me first players. Pats continue to do it with the team first concept. And I am a lifelong Steeler fan, 50+ years.

  14. But if he hadn’t allowed it to get dirty and even added to the dirt, there would be no need for a cleansing; if you will. Get control of your players and your team and add some much needed discipline and consequences to those who show their butts.

  15. The offense might miss Brown the player but they sure won’t miss Brown the diva, and they return pro bowl players at WR, RB, QB, and three on the offensive line.

    Pittsburgh seems to have significantly improved defensively for this year and that’s going to make the biggest difference from last year. They couldn’t have done that without the $14.5 million in cap room gained from Bell’s tag. Losing him was addition by subtraction.

  16. He’s right. Didn’t miss a beat when Bell left and Conner stepped in to make the Pro Bowl. The Steelers just got less distractions. Sounds like a cleansing to me.

  17. This is hilarious…the made Brown the highest paid WR ..it wasn’t good enough…they tried to make Bell the highest paid RB in the league by a wide margin…wasn’t good enough..I could care less the way the contract read..the Steelers pay out over 86% of the total contract…thats higher than the majority of teams…not only that…they become cult heroes and usually do well after their playing days(how’s those rap tunes doing now L. Bell?..rofl)..all the contracts are done same way..I guarentee L. Bell plays less than 14 games..probably 10-12…lol

  18. They both left because they’re afraid of Burfict. Too bad the Pats didn’t sign him because he inflicts massive damage to Steelers divas!

  19. They’ve “cleansed” all the talent out of Pittsburgh, that’s for sure. Anybody who thinks JuJu Smith-Fumble is the answer is kidding himself. Let’s see who Little Ben throws under the bus this year.

  20. Team didn’t make playoffs. Prob not going to make it again this season. Congrats.

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