Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

Antonio Brown dares Steelers to trade him, showing Pittsburgh is on brink of disaster

Alex Reimer
September 17, 2018 - 1:12 pm

It could be worse for the Patriots following their shellacking in Jacksonville. They could be the Steelers.

Pittsburgh appears to be falling apart in the wake of its winless start. Running back Le’Veon Bell hasn’t shown up for two weeks, prolonging his second consecutive holdout. He’s now missed more than $1.7 million in game checks in order to avoid signing a franchise tender that would’ve paid him $14.54 million. (And none of his teammates appear to have his back.) 

On the field, the Steelers tied the lowly Browns –– blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead –– and lost 42-37 to the Chiefs Sunday. Their defense gave up six touchdown passes to Patrick Mahomes, but that’s not their biggest worry at the moment. Star wideout Antonio Brown, who’s been held in check through the first two games of the season, is now daring the Steelers to trade him via Twitter.

On Monday morning, Brown lashed out at a former Steelers employee who said he would be nothing without Ben Roethlisberger. “AB needs to thank his lucky stars, because he was drafted by a team that had Ben. And Ben got AB paid,” ex-Steelers PR guy Ryan Scarpino tweeted. “You know darn well he wouldn’t put up those numbers for other teams.”

Brown responded with a simple dare: “Trade me let’s find out,” he wrote.

Though Roethlisberger threw for 452 yards on 60 pass attempts Sunday, Brown only finished with nine catches for 62 yards. He has 18 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown so far, which is below his usual eye-popping production.

There were some signs of discord between Brown and the Steelers Sunday. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler points out Brown got into a “mild confrontation” with new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and left the field while his teammates celebrated Roethlisberg’s touchdown run in the waning moments of the game.

The Steelers have been on a downward trajectory ever since Mike Tomlin proclaimed to Tony Dungy last November his team was going to face the Patriots in the AFC championship. Pittsburgh, of course, lost to Jacksonville in the Divisional Round –– despite Bell sending out cocky late-night tweets just hours before game time. The frustrating loss prompted the Steelers to dump offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who had been publicly feuding with Roethlisberger ever since their loss to the Pats in December.

Throughout the Tomlin era, the Steelers have been an exceptionally talented, yet unfocused team. Still, they’ve found a way to compete for a Super Bowl nearly every single season.

But this year, it might all be starting to fall apart. Bell still hasn’t shown up, and now Brown is asking to get out.