When it comes to prima donna athletes, such as Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, we have a certain credo we live by.
New athletes are born every day. They have to eat, too.
The point is, guys like Brown believe they are a special gift to the game they play. They believe their talent is indisputable and irreplaceable, that their team and the league they play for wouldn’t be the same without them.
Of course, they are wrong.
We’ve seen this behavior before from Michael Irvin, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. We’re getting a little taste from Odell Beckham, Jr. Like them, Brown is a full buffet of idiotic notions and actions.
If we were running an NFL team we’d stay as far away as we could from this guy and let whatever’s left of his ability die on the vine where stupidity grows.
In a few months the Buffalo Bills will be happy Brown vetoed a deal that would have sent them the disgruntled one from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The trade was apparently in place, in its final stage of preparation, when Brown said he’s wouldn’t play in a town that was damn good enough for James Lofton, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith.
“We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday, and kept talks open with the Steelers,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said in a statement Friday. “We had positive discussions, but ultimately it didn’t make sense for either side. As great a player as Antonio Brown is, we have moved on and our focus is on free agency.”
Pity the Steelers. Brown and Le’Veon Bell, the running back, treated them like dirt this season. Bell refused to play in a salary dispute and Brown simply quit on his team in the final weeks of the season, missing several practices before the season-finale against the Bengals resulting in him being inactive for a must-win game.
While Bell is now a free agent, Brown is in the process of trying to strong-arm the Steelers into trading him. And because his relationship with the team has been irreparably damaged, the Steelers have lost all their bargaining leverage and will likely have to deal him for a second- or third-round pick, both way below Brown’s market value – when he’s in a good mood and playing like the stellar receiver he is.
It had to fathom that Brown apparently believes he not only has the right to force his way out of Pittsburgh, but to determine where he wants to go; but he does, which is why he told the Steelers he would not accept a deal to the Bills.
Now we are hearing the Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans might be interested in trading for him. We have only one question: Why?
The Steelers are desperate to move Brown. They want to end the saga and move on. And if they can’t trade him, they will be forced to hold onto him since they said more than once they won’t consider releasing him.
The Bills have $76 million in salary-cap space and are sorely in need of a top-flight receiver to pair with promising young quarterback Josh Allen, who they selected in the first round in 2018. Brown would have been the perfect fit. He would have been afforded the hero/savior/BMOC status he obviously requires. But the Bills were not sexy enough for him.
And remember, the team that trades for Brown not only gets his attitude, but will deal with his request for a restructured contract. Brown has three years left on his agreement with the Steelers. He is scheduled to make nearly $37 million in base salary through the 2021 season. But he has no guaranteed money remaining.
Brown has over 800 receptions and 78 touchdowns in his eight seasons with the Steelers. He is easily on his way to the Hall of Fame. But there seems to be a screw loose. He’s ranting on social media. He’s sporting a blond mustache. He’s offering personal shout outs to fans for $500 a pop.
He represents a huge risk to any team that takes him on, sort of like what the Patriots experienced when the signed troubled receiver Josh Gordon last season and then had to release him after he relapsed. How does Brown’s new team reconcile the strong possibility he might grow board to uncontrollable.
One rival general manager called Brown a “huge pain in the ass.” And you’d agree with that assessment.
“If your squad want to win and your squad want a hungry wide receiver who’s the best in the whole world, someone hit my phone,” Brown said on Instagram live. “Tell them I ain’t doing no unguarantees. I ain’t even gonna play myself no more for this NFL. … I think I done everything. What y’all think? What’s left for me to do? Win a Super Bowl? Gotta be the right team for that, right? … If your team got guaranteed money, they want to get to know me and work with me, tell them to call me.”
Teams in the league are better off looking towards free agency – Golden Tate, perhaps – or the college draft for help. Brown is not worth it.