T.O., Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, Dez Bryant, OBJ, and now we can officially add Antonio Brown to the class of diva wide receivers.
This past season for Pittsburgh has been one to forget. Starting in training camp the team dealt with a contract dispute from their star running back Le’Veon Bell, which kicked off a series of unfortunate events for the Steelers. After a slow start, Pittsburgh seemed to be on pace for a playoff spot, but instead they lost four of six to close out the year, ultimately missing the playoffs.
Prior to their season ending in Week 17, Antonio Brown was involved in a heated dispute with a teammate at the previous Wednesday practice. He went on to voluntarily skip practice for the rest of the week. Brown attended the Week 17 game against Cincinnati expecting he would play. Rumours have circulated since that he was told prior to the game that he wouldn’t be playing. Brown left the stadium at halftime.
AB has undoubtedly been one of the top wideouts in the game over the past couple of seasons. Since 2013 he leads the league in receptions (686), yards (9,145), and touchdowns (67). As well as being named to 7 straight Pro Bowls, and being a four-time All-Pro.
Brown has been openly critical of his QB Ben Roethlisberger and his head coach Mike Tomlin, who has denied multiple rumours that there is drama in his locker room. That is laughable in itself.
Recently AB has requested a trade from the team. Steelers owner Art Rooney has said that he has had no communication with Brown, and that he is not optimistic he will be on the team in 2019. He also went on to say no potential trade has been discussed, but the team is open to trading him once free agency begins on March 13th.
Brown signed a 4 year $68,000,000 contract last season. He is owed a $2.5 million roster bonus from Pittsburgh if he’s not dealt before March 17th.
It seems as though the diva curse has caught up to the Steelers and their star wide receiver, and it was only a matter of time. The question that many people have is why couldn’t this have been prevented by Mike Tomlin. He managed to lose two players who are arguably the best at their positions, and miss the playoffs in the same year.
In response to criticism of his head coach, Art Rooney said that the team is looking at a possible contract extension for Tomlin in the coming offseason. The 46-year-old head coach currently has two years remaining on his deal. Good luck with that Pittsburgh.
As for Antonio Brown, he will no doubt have an interesting market of suitors looking for his services next season. The team that lands him will need a strong veteran presence, and a no-nonsense coach to manage the huge ego that they’re soon to encounter.