The Pittsburgh Steelers failed to make the playoffs this year for the first time since 2013, as the team will be on the outside looking in after finishing the season with a 9-6-1 record. Pittsburgh was able to take care of business on Sunday in its 16-13 win over Cincinnati, but it didn’t get the help it needed to punch its postseason ticket.
The curious thing about the win over the Bengals wasn’t that it was so close, but rather, it was that Antonio Brown was nowhere to be found. The superstar wide receiver allegedly threw a football at a teammate, with reports indicating that teammate was starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He also reportedly has requested a trade from the franchise.
In an attempt to add some clarity to the situation, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon and provided a look into where things stand in Pittsburgh. However, instead of adding all that much clarity, it doesn’t exactly sound like things are going great in the self-proclaimed City of Champions.
Tomlin was also asked about whether Brown has requested a trade, which he said he doesn’t know for sure, and whether Brown quit on the team, which led to a seemingly damning quote from the Steelers head coach.
While this was going on, Brown posted a tweet wishing fans a happy new year, which included a quote about how he possesses free will.
The team has already seen a bridge get burned with another superstar this year in Le’Veon Bell, which makes the fact that this situation is happening equal parts bizarre and, in a way, unsurprising. Perhaps the Steelers will be able to patch things up internally and everyone will be able to move forward together, but for now, one of the NFL’s models of consistency is going through quite the tumultuous time.