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Antonio Brown Reveals Inner Details of How Things Fell Apart with Steelers



Antonio Brown Ben Roethlisberger Steelers

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is back in the news again, as he recently sat down with Jason Whitlock in a one-on-one wide range interview that touched numerous topics.

In regards to the Steelers, Brown reiterated that he requested a trade from the Steelers after the 2018 season because he didn’t think they were capable of winning a Super Bowl.

“I [wanted] to get out of Pittsburgh because I was realizing we’re not gonna win a Super Bowl,” Brown told Whitlock. “We’re not gonna do anything great. How we gonna do anything great? You putting your top receiver against a kid, he’s a rookie … you think a rookie receiver gonna be able to take two double teams and the best guy every week? He’s not even prepared.”

The “kid” that Brown refers to is JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster blossomed into a star wide receiver in his second year, posting career-high numbers in receptions (111) and yards (1,426). His popularity in the city and throughout Steelers Nation was astronomical. It wasn’t to the level of Brown, but the star wide receiver obviously thought he was infringing on his territory.

Brown had a career-high 15 touchdown receptions in 2018, but had fewer receptions and yards than Smith-Schuster. Team MVP is voted on by the players, and Brown won the award four times already in his career, so maybe players wanted to see someone else win it. It’s unclear how close the voting was.

Brown added more commentary on the matter, but didn’t specifically utter Smith-Schuster’s name, but it’s clear that’s who he was referring to. He also claimed that Jesse Washington’s article on him in September of 2018 played a role in his downfall in Pittsburgh.

“I think in 2018 I had like 15 touchdowns, 1,200 yards, 100 catches,” he told Whitlock. “I think that was my sixth season doing it. And that’s when I realized, you know, people don’t really appreciate greatness. People these days in the NFL, when they see a young player that’s being great and doing great things, it’s just scrutinize on them right away. It’s a takedown on them.

“I was getting too much scrutiny. Then they brought another young receiver who they was making it seem like he could be who I am. Imagine the trauma, and that’s why I started this. Imagine the trauma you gotta deal with when you’ve been great for an organization for son long and now you’re realizing they’re trying to make somebody else you and they’re trying to push you aside based on media writeups.”

Brown’s displeasure of Smith-Schuster winning team MVP over him is not new information, as he stated in a tweet in April of 2019 that Smith-Schuster’s crucial fumble against New Orleans cost the Steelers the season.

“Emotion: boy fumbled the whole post season in the biggest game of year,” Brown wrote. “Everyone went blind to busy making guys famous not enough reality these days!”

Brown also taunted Smith-Schuster for recording 42 receptions for 552 yards in 2019.

“Boo Boo Shoester was ready under 500 U Bum learn some Respect,” Brown wrote.

“It wasn’t about who they’re promoting. It’s about the team going to the next level and win the championship,” Brown told Whitlock. “Forget who you’re promoting. Are we gonna win 2018? I don’t think we even made the playoffs then. We made the playoffs against Cleveland. I didn’t play. They lost the first game at home.”

The team MVP snub was just the beginning of Brown’s eruption, as he reportedly threw a football at Ben Roethlisberger during a heated dispute during a walkthrough before practice and then decided not to practice for the remainder of the week, completely going AWOL. Mike Tomlin benched Brown for the regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, and that was it for his career in the Black and Gold.

Brown won a Super Bowl title with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. But, like in Pittsburgh, he had a tumultuous ending. In Week 17 of the 2021 season against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, Brown quit on the Buccaneers by taking his jersey, shoulder pads, glove, and shirt off and ran off the field in the third quarter. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians cut Brown on the spot. He was officially released four days later, concluding his NFL career.