Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers Are a Mess

Now Antonio Brown seems to be disenchanted with the team. How many skill position players can they stand to lose?
September 18, 2018, 5:26pm
Larry W. Smith/EPA-EFE

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-1-1 on the season, and that record is even worse than it looks because that tie came against the Cleveland Browns, a team that has won precisely one game in two-plus seasons. They seem to have found a replacement for all-world running back Le'Veon Bell in James Conner, but Bell only needed to be replaced because the team pissed him off by refusing to negotiate a fair contract with him. Also his offensive line publicly trashed him for seeking that fair contract. One of those lineman, by the way, is the Steelers' union rep. Not great! And now, we have the unfolding saga surrounding Antonio Brown.

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After Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Antonio Brown quickly left the locker room without speaking to reporters and was reportedly seen having an animated conversation with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Brown was likely still fuming from a scene CBS cameras caught during the game, in which he was having a similarly agitated conversation with his offensive coordinator and positional coach. Then, on Monday morning, a former PR person for the Steelers tweeted that Brown was simply a product of playing with Ben Roethlisberger, and Brown responded that the Steelers should trade him, and find out.

This inspired speculation that Brown was in fact requesting such a trade, but it seemed pretty clear that he was expressing the supreme confidence that most professional athletes have in themselves. But then today it all came to a head, when Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Brown "didn't show up for work Monday." It's sort of unclear what this means because the Steelers did not have practice yesterday, but most other players were in the building for meetings and film sessions. When asked about it today, head coach Mike Tomlin said he was "not going to get into whether he was excused or not.”

So. There is a lot going on in Pittsburgh! In the span of 24 hours the Steelers' star wide receiver was seen arguing with coaches, dipped out on post-game media availability, may or may not have signaled he wants to be traded, and may or may not have skipped out on work the following day. This is, as they say, not great, Bob.

Oh, and just so we get everything in under the Big Top, Ben Roethlisberger is back in the news for his possible role as hotel room chauffeur to Stormy Daniels after her tryst with Donald Trump.

Whatever is actually going on, it is certain that there are now two game-changing skill position players in Pittsburgh who are unhappy with the team. Which is only compounded by the winless start to the season.

And things may only get worse from here: next Monday the Steelers travel to Tampa Bay to play the vaunted Buccaneers offense led by Ryan Fitzpatrick.