Brown meets with Rooney, saying ‘it is time to move on’
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has ended his lengthy standoff with the team by meeting with president Art Rooney II, though any shot at reconciliation between the two sides appears to be out of the question.
Brown, who has asked to be traded, posted a picture on various social media accounts on Tuesday that showed him arm in arm with Rooney at the Palm Beach International Airport.
“We discussed a lot of things and we cleared the air on several issues!” Brown wrote. “We both agreed that it is time to move on but I’ll always have appreciation and gratitude towards the Rooney family and @steelers organization!”
Brown still has three years remaining on the $72 million contract he signed in the spring of 2017, and remains one of the most dynamic performers in the league. He is the only player in NFL history with six consecutive 100-catch seasons and he hauled in 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and a franchise-record 15 touchdowns in 2018.
Yet his relationship with the team has deteriorated over the past several months.
The low point came before Pittsburgh’s game against Cincinnati in Week 17. The team sent him home with an apparent leg injury on the Friday before the game and he failed to provide coach Mike Tomlin with an update until Sunday morning, when his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, let Tomlin know that Brown was available to play.
Tomlin opted to make Brown inactive and Brown did not show up to clean out his locker or conduct an exit interview with the coaching staff. He pulled out of the Pro Bowl with an injury, and Rooney indicated the team had been unable to make contact with Brown in the weeks after Pittsburgh finished 9-6-1 and failed to reach the playoffs.
Brown has continued to be a vocal critic of the Steelers during his estrangement from the team. Over the weekend, he took aim at Tomlin and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for their role in the deteriorating relationship between Brown and the club.