There had been widespread rumors this week that the Pittsburgh Steelers expected to complete a trade for Antonio Brown by Friday. As the hours tick away with no clear sign of where he is headed, Jerry Rice has arrived to make what appears to be a pitch for the San Francisco 49ers.
The All-Pro wide receiver is on the trade block after a disastrous end to his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He missed practice the day before the team’s season finale, and ended up sitting out as the Steelers lost — also losing their slim chance of slipping into the playoffs in the process. Brown later told the team that he wanted a trade, and even a meeting with owner Art Rooney II couldn’t convince him to stay.
The trade may be imminent, though it isn’t clear where he could be headed. Adam Schefter had reported earlier this week, via Twitter, that the Steelers expect to move Brown by Friday. It seemed to many observers as if he was headed a bit further north. Late on Thursday, Ian Rapoport reported on Twitter that the Buffalo Bills were nearing the finish line on a trade for Brown, but by Friday morning those reports had fallen apart. Buffalo was no longer considered a potential destination for Brown.
The Bills even issued a statement saying that they had looked into Brown, but decided against a trade — focusing instead on building through free agency.
Jerry Rice could now help fill that void. The San Francisco 49ers legend posted a tweet asking Antonio Brown to “Holla at me brother,” adding, “It’s time to go to work.”
While Rice didn’t say any more, it was widely interpreted as a pitch to bring Brown to San Francisco. There had already been signs that the 49ers were a preferred destination for Antonio Brown, especially after he posted a picture of himself digitally inserted into a 49ers jersey, per NBC Sports. And shortly after making his trade demand to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown unfollowed nearly all of San Francisco’s players on social media.
Unless there is a major change in the next 10 hours, it does not appear that the Pittsburgh Steelers will finalize a trade for Antonio Brown before the supposed Friday deadline. But the team may not be in a hurry, with reports indicating that they will not settle for less than what team management believes to be a proper return for him.