Report: Antonio Brown skipped walkthrough, left Heinz Field at halftime of Bengals game
Antonio Brown skipped the team walkthrough Saturday and left the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game Sunday against Cincinnati at halftime when he learned he would not be playing, the NFL Network reported.
Brown did not practice the entire week leading up to the Steelers’ regular-season finale against the Bengals, a 16-13 victory in which the offense struggled to score points without their All-Pro wide receiver.
At first, Brown was given a “coach’s decision” designation for his not practicing Wednesday. But that was amended to “coach’s decision/knee” on Thursday, and coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Friday that Brown having tests taken on his knee.
The NFL Network reported that Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a “little bit of a disgreement” during the Wednesday walkthrough, which occurred prior to the first practice of the week. That was the last time Brown was seen on the practice field.
Earlier in the season, Brown skipped a Monday team meeting and film study for “personal reasons” after television cameras caught him arguing with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. On the day Brown was absent, he responded to a critical tweet from a former team employee by writing, “Trade me let’s find out.”
Brown also was involved in a lawsuit stemming from accusations that he threw furniture from a Miami apartment complex, nearly striking a toddler with items that included two larges vases and an ottoman.
Brown led NFL receivers with 15 touchdown catches, and he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth consecutive season and seventh time in his nine-year career.
Brown has three years left on the contract that he signed after the 2017 season. He is due a $2.5 million roster bonus in March, and he will count $22.165 million against the salary cap in 2019.
Before the Steelers signed Brown to that five-year deal in 2017 that included $68 million in new money, coach Mike Tomlin talked of the team having to deal with the wide receiver’s distractions, which at the time came on the heels of his Facebook Live feed from the locker room after a playoff win in Kansas City.
“I think that’s why oftentimes you see great players move around from team to team, and I definitely don’t want that to be his story,” Tomlin said at the time. “I am sure he doesn’t want that to be his story.”
Tomlin will face questions about Brown’s future Wednesday when he holds his annual season wrapup press conference.