Antonio Brown didn’t need to speak a word publicly for the world to learn about his practice blowup, which resulted in his missing the Steelers’ finale Sunday.

And he doesn’t need to speak a word to let the 49ers know he’s interested.

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Just after the new year struck Tuesday, the seven-time Pro Bowl wideout sent a single emoji to San Francisco Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle. Never has the starry-eyed emoji been quite so intriguing.

Kittle had reached out to Brown with the implication-filled “Sup?” And Brown wanted everyone to know he heard the slight bit of recruitment, and already 49ers fans can envision a Jimmy Garoppolo-to-Brown connection.

Of course, flirting and trading are different beasts. Trading him before June 1 would come with an impossible-to-swallow $21 million cap hit. Though, if the Steelers wait until after that date, the cap hit would be about $7 million.

Any Brown trade would have been unimaginable a few weeks ago, as the superstar 30-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down. Yet, after he reportedly stormed out of Steelers practice, missed more meetings and practices and left at halftime of Sunday’s game, the unthinkable is becoming thinkable.

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