Antonio Brown finally has some answers.
After months of leaving the most savvy of NFL prognosticators baffled by his unpredictable behavior, the seven-time Pro Bowl selection filled in some of the gaps with an impromptu “ask me anything” session on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
To recap all the twists and turns: A number of outbursts during the season raised the hackles of Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. By late November after a loss to the Broncos, Roethlisberger criticized Brown for the route he ran on a game-sealing interception, further inflaming tensions between the two. After another disagreement during a walk-through for the final game of the season, Brown walked off the practice field and skipped the rest of the week’s practices and meetings and didn’t return to the Steelers’ facility for several days. He showed up to Heinz Field for the Week 17 game against the Bengals in a fur coat and did not play.
Brown began this week by requesting a trade from Pittsburgh and ended it by telling Twitter users he’d answer 10 of their questions, offering “real truth and real facts now.”
Twitter didn’t hold back.
The first question: What caused the conflict between Brown and Roethlisberger?
Roethlisberger has said some something similar in the past.
“I think I have earned the right to be able to do that with as long as I have been here,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “and I’ll just be just as critical of myself [in the media] as well.”
“Being around for a long time with a lot of different players,” he added later, “you have to know how to motivate different guys in different ways. I think that’s part of being a leader, being a captain, just understanding players. Sometimes you just grab them off to the side, and sometimes you have to be honest with them.”
Next question: What would you tell people who say you only want a new team to get a new contract?
Brown is in the middle of a four-year, $68 million contract. After his sixth straight season with 100 catches and double-digit touchdowns four of the past five seasons, Brown probably would command even more money if he hit the open market.
Next question: What teams would Brown like to play for?
So that was a dodge. Brown has been linked to the 49ers, Broncos, Jets, Raiders, Colts and Cardinals. NFL players haven’t been shy about trying to recruit him and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who sat out the entire season in a contract dispute.
Even if Brown’s meeting with Steelers owner Art Rooney II goes well, Rooney said in January that it would be “hard to envision” Brown remaining with the team (via ESPN).
Next question: Is there any chance Brown stays with the Steelers?
So, that’s a pretty clear no.
The next Twitter user didn’t so much ask a question as rant: “You sat out on our last game against the bengals . . . if you loved the game as much as you say regardless of your 70 million you made you shouldn’t be able to sit out so easily.”
It’s unclear which coach Brown is referencing. Tomlin? Someone else? Also, Brown reportedly didn’t have any injuries keeping him out of action. It’s also unclear whether Brown needed an invitation to show up to the game against the Bengals or he was expected to be there.
And though that wasn’t 10 questions, those are the only ones Brown fielded. He retweeted a video of a fan blog that showed him accepting Roethlisberger’s criticism to polish off the AMA session.
So maybe Brown doesn’t have all the answers. On Saturday, at least he had a few.
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