The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t appear to be ready for a reunion with one of the top receivers in recent memory.
Head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the idea of the Steelers possibly reuniting with wide receiver Antonio Brown while appearing on The Pivot Podcast and shut down the idea. Brown played for the Steelers between 2010 and 2018 and emerged as one of the most dangerous receivers in the game, posting five All-Pro selections and seven Pro Bowl selections during his tenure in Pittsburgh. The 33-year-old receiver also led the NFL in every major receiving category — receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns — during his tenure with the Steelers.
“Y’all know that ain’t happening,” Tomlin said of Brown’s possible return. “In terms of putting a helmet on and running out of the tunnel and playing ball and stuff like that, man. You know he’s moved on, and we’ve moved on. We can sit around and chop that up like it’s a realistic conversation, but we know that’s not realistic.”
While Tomlin ruled out the idea of re-signing his former receiver, he did make sure to compliment Brown’s impact on the Steelers during his tenure with the organization.
“What I’ll say about AB is this man, we had nine great years,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate that dude in ways I can’t explain to y’all. I won’t even bother to attempt to explain to y’all because it sounds like I’m defending him in some way, and to me from that standpoint, the nature of our relationship and what we all did together requires no defense. You could digest it however you want to digest it. [Tomlin blows a kiss.] I don’t think enough gets said about the will of that dude. About the work ethic of that dude. About the fearlessness that he played the game.”
Brown’s Last Tenure With NFL Team Ended on Sour Note
Brown is currently a wide receiver after spending the 2020 and 2021 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The veteran receiver’s last appearance in an NFL game came in Week 17 during the Bucs’ matchup versus the New York Jets, when he walked out in the middle of the game following a sideline spat with head coach Bruce Arians. He was promptly released by the Buccaneers shortly after the game.
The sour ending to his Bucs tenure comes a couple of years after he forced his way out from the Las Vegas Raiders after he was acquired via trade during the 2019 offseason. Shortly following his release from the Raiders, the New England Patriots signed Brown before he was released after just one game due to off-the-field allegations and intimidating text messages sent to one of his accusers.
Prior to his short stints with the Raiders and Patriots, Brown also ended his Steelers tenure on a bad note when he was benched for the team’s final game during the 2018 season due to missing team practices that week.
ALL the latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
Brown Indicates NFL Career is Over
The 12-year veteran recently addressed his playing status while he was interviewed during a recent Fan Controlled Football game. Brown indicated that he would not be suiting up during the 2022 season — which may be a possible sign that no team has shown any interest in signing the receiver.
“Obviously, we live the game, but you can’t play forever,” Brown said. “I think I’m a great player that’s done everything in the game.”
Prior to his fallout with the Buccaneers, Brown was posting his best season in years, producing 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns in just seven games. Based upon Brown’s pace, the veteran receiver would have produced102 receptions, 1,324 yards and 10 touchdowns over a 17-game season.
While Brown certainly still has the ability to play the game at a high level, the fact that he’s burned bridges with four teams in three years likely means his NFL career is over.
And it certainly rules out any possible reunion with the Steelers.