It looks like we’re in for another drama-filled off-season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Last year, all eyes were on running back Le’Veon Bell. This year, that focus shifts over to the other offensive powerhouse: Antonio Brown.
On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Gerry Dulac spoke with Steelers president Art Rooney II who said that while releasing Brown was “not on the table,” it would be “hard to envision” the star wide receiver being with the team come training camp this summer.
“There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney told Dulac. “We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table.
“Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we’re a long way away from thinking that can happen. We’re not closing the door on anything at this point.”
Brown and the Steelers stirred up controversy in the final week of the regular season when it was reported that Brown had sat out Pittsburgh’s must-win Week 17 matchup not because of injury but because he’d been benched. That brought about plenty of speculation that Brown had played his final game in Pittsburgh’s black and yellow.
Trading Brown would not be without its cap-related complications, but Rooney told Dulac that wouldn’t stop the franchise from making a move.
While the Steelers’ season is in the books, they aren’t allowed to make any roster changes until March 13 — that’s the first day of the NFL off-season. As Dulac pointed out, Brown is slated to receive a $2.5-million bonus from the club on March 17 and logic tells us the Steelers would more than likely target that as their decision date.
“All options are on the table,” Rooney told Dulac, who also reported Thursday that Brown has not spoken with team ownership or head coach Mike Tomlin since the season ended. “We have two months to go before we can do anything. There’s no sense making the decision now. We’ll see how things play out. Maybe he decides to come talk to us some day and we learn more about where he is. We’ll see.”