Steelers coach Mike Tomlin plans to meet with Antonio Brown over absence
Le’Veon Bell wasn’t the only Pittsburgh Steelers player who didn’t show up for work Monday.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he would meet with Antonio Brown to see why the star receiver did not report for scheduled film study and team meeting Monday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN that Brown was absent because of a “personal matter.” Rosenhaus said he informed the team of Brown’s situation, but Tomlin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday that he wouldn’t reveal whether the absence was excused.
“He was not here,” Tomlin said. “I’m looking forward to visiting with him today and discussing that and some other things. I’m not going to get into the details of why he wasn’t here or whether he was excused and all of those things.
“I’d just as soon as leave those things in house.”
Later, Tomlin said he “may or may not provide details” of his meeting with Brown.
In the past, Tomlin has revealed when an absence is excused, giving an indication Brown did not receive permission to miss work Monday.
Among the “other things” Tomlin planned to discuss with Brown was the receiver’s latest social media distraction.
On Monday morning, while other players were at the team facility, Brown wrote on Twitter, “Trade me let’s find out” in response to a former team employee tweeting that Brown wouldn’t have the same success without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Tomlin laughed and said “no” when asked if Brown has asked for a trade, and Rosenhaus shot down the idea to ESPN.
“It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate,” Rosenhaus said.
Brown’s latest tweet was his third controversial one in two months. Most recently, he threatened a reporter who wrote an unflattering story about Brown by indicating he would break the reporter’s jaw.
Tomlin said the Steelers don’t need to adopt a uniform social media policy for their players, but they need to use better discretion when interacting with fans online.
“It’s important that we understand our position, the light that shines on us and the responsibility that comes with it,” Tomlin said. “There have been a couple instances now where you’ve asked me about Antonio regarding some social media-like things. I’ll address that directly with him. I’ll leave that between he and I.”
Unlike last season, when Tomlin benched wide receiver Martavis Bryant for disparaging teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster on social media, the coach said Brown’s transgression doesn’t warrant as stiff of a punishment.
“That was player among player. That’s player relations,” Tomlin said about the Bryant incident. “I’m not getting into what happens in that gray atmosphere out there among people where there is very little accountability and things of that nature. That’s just not my bag.”
Tomlin grew testy when asked about continually having to address Brown’s social media transgressions.
“I’m focused on real legitimate things, OK? Seriously,” he said. “We gave up a few big plays. We’re playing a team that is big-play capable. We haven’t won a game yet. Those are the real things.”
At least Tomlin didn’t have to deal with any questions about Bell’s continued absence.
Bell remains in South Florida while contemplating when to join his teammates. He has forfeited $1.71 million by skipping the first two weeks of the season. On Monday night, while the latest social media storm was brewing in Pittsburgh, Bell was at Rockwell Night Club on Miami’s South Beach holding a release party for his new rap single, “My Side of Things.”
Here’s video from Tomlin’s press conference on Tuesday. He begins at the 3:47 mark.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.