As we await a resolution to the ongoing Antonio Brown saga with the Steelers, we have a new interesting piece today. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com conducted interviews with “nearly 20 former or current teammates of Brown”, to help figure out what went wrong between Brown and the team. While most that Fowler spoke with seem to acknowledge he’s unlikely to return to Pittsburgh, many spoke up in favor of Brown and said he’s being cast in an unfair light by the media.
Fowler writes that Brown “was — and in many ways still is — beloved in the Steelers’ locker room”, and that the situation is more complex and nuanced than it may appear. Many of Brown’s teammates have publicly lobbied for him to stay, and if the recent rumor is true that the Steelers aren’t getting the kind of trade offers they were hoping for, perhaps they do find a way to make it work after all. For what it’s worth, Steelers owner Art Rooney did adopt a slightly more conciliatory tone in his most recent statements to the press.
Here’s more from the AFC North:
- Last week a reporter mentioned Tyrod Taylor as a possible target of the Ravens to be Lamar Jackson‘s backup next season, and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh added some fuel to that fire. Harbaugh said today that he’d like to add two quarterbacks behind Jackson this offseason, ideally with a similar playing style, and the recently extended coach brought up Robert Griffin III and Taylor on his own, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Griffin served as the number three this past year, and said recently he loved his time in Baltimore, so it seems likely he’ll be re-signed.
- The Bengals are riding with Andy Dalton, for now. Cincinnati’s director of player personnel Duke Tobin spoke recently to reporters and while he expressed some confidence in Dalton, he also left the door open for the team to draft a future replacement, according to Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Dalton has been in that gray area second tier of quarterbacks for a while now, and it’s been speculated that the Bengals could look to move on this offseason with Marvin Lewis finally out the door. Presumptive coach Zac Taylor can’t even join the team until his Rams play in the Super Bowl, and he’ll obviously have a large say in determining Dalton’s fate. Dalton seems safe for 2019, but as Page notes, the team can get out from his contract with no dead money at any time.
- If you haven’t already read Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com‘s piece on the Browns, you need to now. Wickersham details a shocking level of dysfunction within the organization over the past handful of years since Jimmy Haslam bought the team, and it includes some bombshell details. Among other things, Haslam overruled the entire front office who wanted to hire current Bills coach Sean McDermott in favor of hiring Hue Jackson, and insisted the team take Johnny Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 draft because he didn’t like Bridgewater’s handshake. The article does leave off on a hopeful note, as new GM John Dorsey has been able to ward off most of Haslam’s meddling and cut him out of things, but it will be very interesting to see if Haslam again inserts himself into the process in the crucial coming months.