Tim Benz: Are Steelers players trying to defuse the Antonio Brown drama? |
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Tim Benz: Are Steelers players trying to defuse the Antonio Brown drama?

Tim Benz
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) taks with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

It sure sounds like the Steelers players are trying thaw the cold war between the organization and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Take a look at some of these quotes coming from the Pro Bowl.

JuJu Smith-Schuster endorsed the idea of Brown staying in Pittsburgh . And during a conference call with season-ticket holders, Art Rooney II seemed to walk back his previous pessimism that something could be worked out.

When it comes to the players, I’m not putting as much stock in these quotes as other people are.

The players saying that they want A.B. back doesn’t mean they are OK with the distractions he created and his absence at the end of the season. It means they want a dynamic player to keep wearing their team’s uniform.

Loosely translated, I think those statements mean they want Brown in Pittsburgh if he wants to be in Pittsburgh. But they want him to be invested and a good soldier.

For a team that is hopefully trying to tamp down a series of chaotic headlines coming out of its locker room, it’s a lot easier for them to say, “gee, I hope it works out,” as opposed to “trade him.”

Because if the Steelers don’t do that, and keep him, then what? Well, the locker room becomes even more of a circus.

One thing that is now obvious to me: The Steelers players weren’t mad A.B. “abandoned” them during the final week, as some people have described. They were mad he got paid for not practicing all week, then showing up on game day.

Time is healing that wound. Now, they just want him scoring touchdowns again.