Antonio Brown still has some friends left on the Steelers.
According to an NFL.com report, Brown is still in touch with some within the organization and has “not closed the door on a return” to Pittsburgh. The Steelers have not yet allowed Brown to seek trades on his own, though the team has explored some trade possibilities.
Brown has been feuding with the franchise since he reportedly had a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during a practice before a must-win Week 17 game against the Bengals.
Brown has not returned calls from Roethlisberger since and has shaded coach Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II when they’ve publicly questioned Brown. Rooney went as far to say that he could not see the star receiver being back with the team come offseason workouts this summer. But Rooney also said he was unwilling to just release Brown, setting the Steelers up with trying to trade one of the biggest stars of the sport.
He did change that stance slightly this week.
“There are a lot of factors we have to take into account on it,” Rooney told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’d have to sit down with Antonio and understand where he is and make sure he understands where we are. There is some work to do before we figure that out.”
This drama will drag on for some time. The Steelers’ dead cap hit drops from approximately $21 million to $7 million if they trade Brown after June 1.