Antonio Brown, arguably the most dominant wide receiver in the NFL over the past decade, has stated his desire to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers. ESPN reported shortly afterwards that he has officially asked the team for a trade.
On Tuesday afternoon, the 30-year-old tweeted a video containing highlights of his Steelers career along with a message saying: “Thank you SteelerNation for a big 9 years…time to move on and forward”. Brown is under contract for another three years and the Steelers reportedly would want at least a first-round pick and several other selections for the receiver.
Brown has been with Pittsburgh his entire career but his relationship with the team has soured over the past year. Steelers president Art Rooney II said last month he wasn’t sure why Brown had turned against the team. The player’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he had expressed his client’s “position” to the team but did not elaborate. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came to rely on Brown’s teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster more during the 2018 season, and Smith-Schuster ended up making his first Pro Bowl.
Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler and has been named to the NFL’s All Pro first-team four times. He was not seen as a star coming out of college and seemed almost an after-thought when he was drafted in the sixth-round by the Steelers in the 2010 draft. Since then, he has recorded more than 1,000 yards receiving in seven of his nine seasons in the league.
He has, however, been involved in problems off the field recently. On Tuesday, he was found guilty of reckless driving over an incident from November and fined $400. Last month, two lawsuits were filed against Brown after he allegedly threw furniture from his 14th-floor apartment. The mother of one of his children also filed a police report after claiming he pushed her during a dispute over their daughter. The woman did not press charges and police have taken no further action.
Tuesday’s news comes at a time of upheaval for the Steelers. The team’s star running back Le’Veon Bell sat out the season over a contract dispute. Bell is likely to leave the Steelers this offseason.