It looks like Antonio Brown will be out of Pittsburgh sooner rather than later. The star Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver added another wrinkle to nearly two months of trade speculation by tweeting an unsubtle farewell message to the city of Pittsburgh.
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 12, 2019
Brown called it “time to move on and forward” in his tweet, which was also accompanied by a short video package. The move is curious because, at the time of writing, no transaction involving Brown has been reported or officially announced. That is the kind of tweet players usually post after they have been released or traded.
Minutes after Brown’s tweet was posted, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Brown has not been traded or released yet. However, he has officially demanded a trade within the organization.
Antonio Brown has not been traded nor has he been released. But Brown wants a trade and he officially has requested that from the Steelers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 12, 2019
Of course, rumors for the past few weeks have suggested Brown would indeed be traded at some point. A late-season practice dispute led to a Brown being a healthy scratch for the Steelers’ must-win week 17 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Afterward, team owner Art Rooney II made it sound unlikely that Brown would play for the Steelers next year. Rooney eventually retracted the statement a bit, but no public reconciliation has been made between the player and the team.
Even if the Steelers have not agreed to a deal in principle yet, it sounds like they should start looking. The star receiver’s trade value could have plummeted in recent days. He was accused by a woman of domestic violence last week, though police chose not to arrest him after arriving at the scene.
He then filed for custody of his daughter from the accuser. His legal troubles became more complicated on Tuesday when he missed a court appearance in Pittsburgh for a reckless driving charge. He was found guilty as a result.
Brown’s interest in playing elsewhere next year is not up for debate, but other teams’ interest in Brown might be, at this point. He has recorded 100 or more catches in six straight seasons, but he is 31 and keeps getting in trouble off the field.
It remains to be seen if any of the teams linked to Brown, like the San Francisco 49ers, are willing to give up draft picks for a player with so much baggage.