It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Antonio Brown’s time with the Pittsburgh Steelers is over.
And while he has little control over the situation, Brown seems to have made his preferred landing spot for next season clear.
The 30-year-old hinted yet again on Friday that he wanted to join the San Francisco 49ers, posting a photoshopped picture of him in a 49ers jersey hugging Jerry Rice to his Instagram account.
A post shared by Antonio Brown (@ab) on Jan 25, 2019 at 7:27am PST
Brown’s post is in response to Rice’s recent comments about him on 95.7 The Game last week.
“This guy, man, he’s a totally, complete team player,” Rice said on the radio. “I don’t know what happened in Pittsburgh but I know this guy, if he comes here to San Francisco, he’s going to do everything possible to help this team win.”
Brown has hinted at the 49ers before, too. He followed them on Instagram last month, and even entered into a brief Twitter conversation with 49ers tight end George Kittle.
Brown is apparently taking a break from the league, too, and is currently in the Turks and Caicos, per the location on his post.
But still, if he gets his way, it seems he wants to be living on the West Coast next fall.
Ex-teammate: ‘It’s probably over’
Brown has made waves in Pittsburgh ever since his Week 17 stunt, in which he ditched several practices and team meetings before he was benched for their final game of the season.
It seems he essentially quit on the team, something that caused team owner Art Rooney II to say that he couldn’t envision Brown still being on the Steelers for training camp this summer.
While Rooney eventually walked back his comments, it appears these issues between Brown and the team aren’t anything new.
“This has been brewing for years,” an ex-teammate told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “It’s just now coming to the surface.
“And, it’s probably over.”
Ditching Brown would be costly for the Steelers, however. The wide receiver signed a four-year, $68 million deal last year, and it would cost the Steelers more than $21 million in dead money if they cut or trade him.
Head coach Mike Tomlin, while a huge factor in the reported feud, even reportedly said they would deal with Brown’s antics. After all, he did record 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.
The second that stops, though, Tomlin said that’s a different story.
“[Tomlin] essentially told the group, we’ll tolerate it now because of what he brings on the field, but the minute production stops, you don’t overlook it,” an ex-teammate told ESPN.
Terrell Owens: Brown has ‘asked me how the Bay Area was’
Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens jumped into the talk about Browns’ future on Friday, too.
Appearing on NBC Sports’ PFT PM podcast on Friday, Owens said that he has been talking with Brown multiple times about the situation in Pittsburgh.
“I’ve talked with Antonio Brown throughout the course of year,” Owens said. “And I’ve kind of known some of what has been going on. He’s leaned on me for advice, as somewhat of a mentor, so to speak … I think with him, I think it’s a fresh start to go elsewhere and part ways with the organization and with some of the things than he and Ben have been confronted with.”
Owens played in the league from 1996-2010, most notably with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. When asked whether Brown wants to move on from Pittsburgh, Owens’ answer was clear: Absolutely.
“He wants to move on,” Owens said. “I don’t like how Ben [Roethlisberger] has kind of thrown him under the bus in certain instances … I think Ben owes him a lot more respect than he has given him … I mean even from the standpoint of him saying he didn’t know anything about a blowup when he was part of the blowup.”
Now, Owens can’t say for sure what will happen, as he has no control over the situation whatsoever. Apparently, though, Brown asked Owens for a bit of advice.
“I talked to him on a couple of occasions, and I’m not here to air anybody’s messages or … conversations, but he’s asked me how the Bay Area was on several occasions,” Owens said.
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