The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly near the finish line in a trade for Antonio Brown, with reports suggesting that a deal could be completed before the end of Saturday and that he’s headed to the Oakland Raiders.
The All Pro wide receiver had a sour ending to his tenure with the Steelers, sitting out the final game after failing to show up for practice on Saturday. Brown later vented about his frustrations with the team and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in particular, and demanded a trade. The team made some efforts to keep him on board, with owner Art Rooney II even meeting with Brown, but there was apparently no repairing the relationship.
A new report suggests that the team is close to finalizing a trade for Antonio Brown. Beat writer Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Twitter that the team was “close to a deal,” but he did not specify which team would be on the other end.
Many believe that the Oakland Raiders will be the destination, and Antonio Brown himself may have revealed it during an Instagram Live video. During the video, Brown’s workout partner was heard saying, “Got the black and gray on already,” referencing the team’s colors. The Raiders had reportedly been one of the most interested teams, and head coach Jon Gruden has been very high on Brown in public statements in the past.
Just tuned in to Antonio Brown’s Instagram live (real journalism, I know). He’s in the gym, and his workout partner says to him:
“Got the black and gray on already.”
Brown also says: “AB might be somewhere in less than 24 hours.” pic.twitter.com/mi0QMp6gPm
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) March 8, 2019
If the #Raiders trade the 27th-overall pick (from #Cowboys) for Antonio Brown, they will have essentially traded a 24-year-old WR with zero behavioral concerns in Amari Cooper for a 30-year-old wild card pic.twitter.com/sUyoF0actf
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) March 6, 2019
The rumors regarding Antonio Brown have been flying fast as the week drew to a close. Late on Thursday, Ian Rapoport reported on Twitter that the Buffalo Bills had jumped into the fray and were close to completing a deal, but he walked back those reports early on Friday and said the Bills backed out. Buffalo later released a statement confirming that they looked into a trade for Brown but decided against it and would focus on free agency instead.
While there have been a few other teams connected to Antonio Brown — including the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders — other indications seemed to point to the San Francisco 49ers as a strong potential destination. On Friday, Niners legend Jerry Rice reached out to Brown on Twitter in what many saw as a pitch for his team, and Brown recently followed all of the team’s players on social media.
@AB84 Holla at me brother. It’s time to go to work.
— jerryrice (@JerryRice) March 8, 2019
The Pittsburgh Steelers have given no public indications of where Antonio Brown could be headed or whether the rumors that a trade is imminent might be true.