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The Steelers Will Refuse to Trade Antonio Brown to the Pats. And to That I Say 'Thank You'

SourceThe Steelers have set loose parameters for an Antonio Brown trade.

The team would prefer to send Brown to an NFC team for competitive reasons, a source told ESPN. The New England Patriots and AFC North rivals are considered no-trade zones, and the Steelers would rather see Brown affect wins and losses in another conference, if possible.

Wait. Are you telling me the Patriots won’t be able to get their hands on Antonio Brown? Please Steelers, say it ain’t so! How are the Pats ever expected to win a Super Bowl without him? Oh, the humanity. All my hopes for a bright future have been shattered. Life has no meaning. God is dead. This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

If there’s one thing that disappoints me about Patriots fans is our continued obsession with whatever elite, freakishly athletic wide receiver happens to become available. Even the ones that aren’t available, like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. Never mind the ones of the damaged, team-killing, cap-busting prima ballerina variety. Year after year after year this team makes at least the AFC title game, often times the Super Bowl and almost as often wins it, while Pats fans – people I care about deeply – set records for missing the point.

I mean, how long are we going to look back at Randy Moss’s time in New England as the template for how a winner is built? Because he was willing to cut his salary from $9.75 million to $3 million, set receiving records and then settle for a well below-market deal to stay here doesn’t mean that’s the best blueprint for sustaining a dynasty. And it ignores the one Super Bowl we saw in Moss’s three-plus years here or the ugly way he shot his way out of town when he couldn’t keep his unique brand of crazy bottled up any more. It also ignores the SIX Super Bowls we’ve won with the likes of Troy Brown, David Patten, David Givens, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola, no one’s idea of elite, athletically superior, field-stretching wideouts.

And yet half the guys I hear from have visions of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. running wild catching Tom Brady bombs and need Asian day spa handjobs to relieve the excitement. And I have to ask myself if I’m the only one who’s been paying attention all these years.

Before you dream of late July with Brown strapping on a Patriots helmet and taking the practice field behind Gillette, consider this:

 Training camp is a slog. Every morning, Steelers players drag their sizable frames out of modest Saint Vincent College dorm rooms. Vets might get a room to themselves.

Brown had something more: an Airbnb-style rental home close to campus. … They’d see him get dropped off in a black Mercedes or another luxury car sometime in the morning. …

For all of Brown’s tireless work on the field, he took full advantage of being a star player off it.

Several say Brown routinely showed up late to team meetings that set up the upcoming game week. If he was loosely on time, he might be the last one to walk through the door. One player went as far to say he didn’t see Brown once in the Wednesday morning meetings during his one season with the team. …

On game days, players marveled at Brown showing up uncomfortably close to kickoff, rocking a mink coat while other players were in full uniform. …

[I]n Week 16, Brown left a walk-through the next week after the Steelers wanted to run a hot read again and sent another player into the lineup, a source close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Brown talked with Roethlisberger afterward, telling the quarterback he felt underappreciated and had issues with people in the organization. …

One team source believes Brown failed to show up that Saturday to prove a point: See what happens without me drawing those double-teams.

I can hear the collective “But Mike Tomlin let Brown walk all over him. Belichick would never let that happen.” And you might be right. But why would you want a player who wants separate housing and limo rides to practice and to show up whenever the fuck he feels like it and who skips walk-throughs because he feels unloved and so he’ll show them. What problem are you solving? How are you making the team – T-E-A-M – better? What, are we “helping” Brady by giving him a “weapon”? The Patriots had the 4th best offense in the league last year. Without Edelman for a quarter of the season, Gronk slowed by injuries and Josh Gordon lasting about half a season. So you want to cure that disease with this poison pill.

That’s a no from me, Dawg. I’ll give Brown, OBJ and whatever high-maintenance $18 million nightmare god a good leaving alone. And the Pats will be in the conference championship while your God of Fantasy stats is missing the playoffs like the Steelers and Giants did last year. Then we’ll be having this same conversation next year about some other pain-in-the-ass.