Don Wright/Associated Press
Brown addressed reporters for the first time since telling a former Steelers employee “trade me” after he was critical of the Pro Bowl wideout on Twitter. He also missed Monday’s practice a day after having a sideline confrontation with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
According to Brown, the coaching staff knew why he missed practice and would only describe it as “personal reasons.”
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, previously denied speculation that Brown wanted a trade.
“The tweet yesterday was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade or wanting to be [traded]. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate,” Rosenhaus said in a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Antonio had a personal matter,” Rosenhaus continued. “I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That’s all that that is.
“That’s not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win,” Rosenhaus added. “And that’s what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he has disciplined Brown for missing Monday’s practice unexcused. Steelers players have either kept mum or been supportive of Brown, who is to many the best receiver in the NFL.
Brown has recorded 18 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown through the first two weeks. He was third on the team in receiving yards and second in targets in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs.
The Steelers have Brown under contract through the 2022 season. It’s likely all sides are looking to move past this as quickly as possible, especially with Le’Veon Bell still absent from team facilities.