Antonio Brown burned every bridge in sight as he left the Pittsburgh Steelers, but could a return to the team be possible for one of the NFL’s most mercurial players?
Mike Tomlin does not hold his breath.
The Pittsburgh Steelers discussed his former wide receiver and much more during an appearance on The Pivot Podcast. When asked about the possibility of Brown returning to Pittsburgh, Tomlin was sharp:
“You all know it does not happen.”
Tomlin seemed to admit that Brown could sign a one-day contract to retire a Steeler, but shot down all ideas that he should dress in black and yellow again:
“When it comes to putting on a helmet and running out of the tunnel and playing ball and stuff, man, he has moved on, we have moved on. We can sit and cut it up and pretend it’s a realistic conversation, but we everyone knows it’s not realistic, man.
“What I want to say about AB is this, man. We had nine great years. I appreciate that guy in ways I can not explain to you. That I do not even bother to try to explain to you because it sounds like I am defending him in some way, and for me, from that point of view, our relationship and what we all did together does not require any defense. You can digest it how you want to digest it. [Tomlin blows a kiss.] You know what I mean?”
Brown left the infamous Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17 last season and has not exactly behaved like a person planning to play in the NFL again. He said he would not undergo the necessary ankle surgery until a team signed him in March, and outspoken fans should not expect to see him play football this coming season in May.
However, he indicated that he wanted to retire with the Steelers.
Would the Steelers organization be receptive to that? It remains to be seen, though, whether Tomlin went out of his way to praise Brown as a player, while acknowledging that things were not handled well on the personal front. In particular, he used nothing but the past:
“I do not think enough is said about the will of that guy. About the work ethic of that guy. About the fearlessness he played the game in. Is fear ever a factor in his game? … I have never seen him blink on the football field. I have never I’ve just seen him run into burning buildings on the football field. We talk about all this other, man, but we do not talk about it. Incredible will Incredible work ethic Incredible faith in himself It is what I think of when I think of the nine years I spent with that guy.
“With success comes many things. Some we handle well, some we do not. Some he handled well, some he did not. Some of it changed him in ways that were not as attractive. Sometimes grew and grew in a big way. way … Success is a smooth red carpet. “
If this really is the case for Brown, he will retire with 928 career receptions, 12,291 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns, with seven Pro Bowl nods, a Super Bowl ring and a spot on the NFL’s 2010 All-Decades Team. Pretty good for a 5-foot-10 sixth round out of Central Michigan.
Brown’s top in Pittsburgh was one of the highest football sports ever seen from a wide receiver, but even his most successful coaches will admit that there are things he could have handled better.