While most of you amateurs were spending the last couple of days creating and then nursing hangovers from your local supermarket’s 2-for-$13.99 Freixenet special, a pro like me was carrying on my annual tradition of drinking you under the table, getting discreet sidebewb from our MILF friends, and gleefully monitoring the reports of Antonio Brown tearing the Steelers apart:
Brown did not play in the season-ending game against the Cincinnati Bengals because he elected to sit out practice last week after a dispute with Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.
Several sources said the Steelers’ decision to not play Brown against the Bengals had nothing to do with any type of knee injury.
That surprised several players, including one who called the situation “embarrassing” and “the worst I’ve seen.” That player said the entire situation and the way it was handled affected his desire to play in the game.
Interesting thing about that knee injury the Steelers listed Brown with:
As one league source has observed, “overt lying” on the injury report is a much bigger problem than Brown’s antics, because shenanigans with the injury report speak to competitive issues, about which the league office should be very concerned. It’s unknown whether the league office actually is concerned or will take action; the NFL has not responded to an inquiry from PFT regarding … what apparently was a deliberate decision to hide the dysfunction by brushing off Brown’s absence from practice and from Sunday’s game as the product of an injury, when in fact there was no injury.
Even more interesting is the reaction to all this from some of Brown’s former teammates:
“Antonio and I almost got into a fight because he’s saying things at screaming at Coach LeBeau, screaming at us defensively saying, ‘Don’t touch me. I’m the franchise.'”
Less interesting than that is Brown picking up the “So You’re a Selfish, Me-First, Coach-Killing Diva” pamphlet they keep in the waiting room at the Wide Receiver Clinic and opening up to the section marked “What to Do When They Don’t Understand You and It’s All Everybody Else’s Fault”:
Which will never happen because:
So that’s where we stand, as of this hour. In the past, Antonio Brown has screamed at his team’s Hall of Fame D-Coordinator, told his defensive backs they can’t touch him, was Facebook Live-ing in the Steelers locker room after a playoff game while Mike Tomlin was talking to his players about watching themselves on social media. And the team did nothing. Except pay him fucktons of money. This year he’s upset about his touches, chucking balls at his quarterback, walking out on practices, skipping mandatory meetings and walk-throughs and still showing up expecting to play while his team lies about a knee injury to cover for him. All of which proves Ryan Clark’s point about how monsters are created.
Which brings me to my point. And my first broken resolution of 2019. I promised myself I wasn’t going to relate other NFL teams to the Patriots. But in this case, how can I not?
Two days from now is the one year anniversary of a supposedly explosive ESPN report about how the Patriots were on the verge of a bloody revolt. The issue being whether the quarterback’s trainer could fly to road games on the team plane. That was it. That was enough to fuel 12 months of non-stop hysteria. Talk of power struggles, resentment, an out-of-touch coach, bad blood, a tight end who felt picked on, an owner struggling to hold it all together and retirement speculation. Bill Belichick told Tom Brady his business partner was interfering with the training staff, so he’d have to walk 100 yards across Patriots Place to store front they share in order to get his rubdowns. And supposedly we were witnessing a dynasty in the midst of collapsing like Sauron’s tower.
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, their most talented – and for sure most expensive – player flat out quit on his team. In the same year their franchise running back sat out the season over money. That is what real turmoil is. That’s what happens when a coach actually does lose his locker room. This is what it sounds like when doves cry. It’s a team that was 7-2-1 at one point going 2-4 down the stretch and missing the playoffs. While the team ESPN wrote a 10,000 eulogy for a year ago has two weeks to get ready for their Divisional Round playoff game.
As far as the Steelers lying on the injury report to hide the real reason their best player wasn’t in the game, let’s not pretend for a hot second anything will come of it. They won’t even face a fine, never mind losing draft picks. Because cheating scandals are like player/coach conflicts: They only matter when they involve the Patriots.