The Steelers have plenty of connections to Tampa. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was the Steelers offensive coordinator for five seasons while Bucs assistants Byron Leftwich, Larry Foote, and Antwan Randle-El all played for the team. So did defensive tackle Steve McLendon and cornerback Ross Cockrell, but the active player with the deepest history in Pittsburgh is likely wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown starred for the Steelers for nine seasons, but his tenure with the team ended in acrimony at the end of the 2018 season. Brown forced a trade away from the team after missing practices, criticizing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and generally making life miserable for the team. Despite all that, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert had a positive response to Sunday’s win.
“I was happy for A.B. to win a Super Bowl trophy,” Colbert said on WDVE, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s something that is unique. Once a player does it, there is nothing else that can compare. When you get that first one, it’s unique and you remember it. Those [ex-Steelers], I know they enjoyed that. That was a special group. And we are happy for all of them.”
Brown’s behavior with the Raiders made for a short stay with them and accusations of sexual assault brought his time with the Patriots to an end after one game. He served an eight-game suspension to open this season as well and the distance all of that provides from his time with the Steelers may have made it easier for Colbert to find a smile for the wideout on Sunday.