The Antonio Brown saga in Pittsburgh took another wild turn on Monday, thanks to some insight from the very player Brown looked up to as a young player.
Jerry Rice is widely considered the greatest receiver to ever step on an NFL football field, winning three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and establishing himself as first ballot Hall of Fame player. For all of Rice’s accolades on the field, he may have just added “news breaker” to his repertoire.
Brown posted on his instagram story a screenshot of him video chatting with Rice, driving further speculation that Brown wants to join the 49ers. In a rare moment of insight from the their conversation, Rice revealed what many had feared.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He wants to come here really bad.” – Rice, when asked about Brown potentially joining the 49ers via 95.7 The Game.
Brown’s admiration for Rice has long been noted, as he has painted portraits of Rice throughout his house and has openly talked about the love/respect for him on social media.
View this post on Instagram
This is just the latest buzz in what has been a constant whirlwind of news and rumors circulating around Brown after not answering phone calls from the Steelers front office in the days leading up to the team’s last regular season game. After a series of tweets between 49ers tight end George Kittle and Brown shortly after news broke of why Brown had missed the team’s last game, there has been heavy speculation Brown could find himself in San Francisco.
“If it was left up to me, he’d be here in a heartbeat.” said Rice in his interview Monday.
The blitz was already on for Brown to be in a 49ers uniform, yet the recent comments from Rice only doused fuel on the fire to get the once beloved Steelers receiver out of Pittsburgh. The Steelers cannot officially move Brown until March 13th, giving nearly two months of time and thought for the likes of Art Rooney II, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin to decide Brown’s ultimate fate.
If Brown has any say, however, all signs point towards him packing his bags and going to the bay area.
Titans Shut Down Practice after Multiple Positive COVID-19 Tests
The Tennessee Titans have shut down their practices this week after multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the organization, the team announced on Tuesday in advance of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers scheduled for this Sunday in Nashville.
The Titans had three new player positives and five new staff positives on Tuesday, and both the Titans, and their opponents from Sunday the Minnesota Vikings, have shut down practices for the week, according to a report by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The #Titans had three new player positives and five new personnel positives for COVID-19, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo. Both Titans and Vikings, who hosted them Sunday, will suspend in person club activities starting today.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 29, 2020
“Out of an abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID-19 virus,” the Titans said in a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Several tests have come back positive and we are working through the process of confirming them. We will have more information [Wednesday].”
After multiple positive COVID tests in their organization , the Titans are halting in-person work today and made this announcement: pic.twitter.com/2LDjIBgyor
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2020
According to a report ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the NFL is shutting down the Titans’ entire week of practice until Saturday, which would obviously put the status of Sunday’s game in jeopardy.
A league source just texted me: "We are shutting Tennessee down until Saturday"
That means no Titans coaches or players can be in the building.
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 29, 2020
Update, 10:31 a.m: The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement later on Tuesday morning:
“On Tuesday morning, the Titans COVID testing results returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives. The Titans will suspend in-person club activities starting today. Likewise, the Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities. Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments. All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”
Update, 10:47 a.m: Kevin Seifert of ESPN has confirmed that the tests are not false positives.
Unfortunately, I can confirm, via a league source, that all of these COVID-19 tests have been CONFIRMED positive. The NFL has completed the protocol that would have determined if any were false positive. They weren't.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) September 29, 2020
Update, 11:43 a.m: The Steelers have postponed Mike Tomlin’s press conference, which was scheduled for noon.
Update, 11:50 a.m: Betting on the Steelers-Titans game has been taken off the board in several casinos, including Parx in Pennsylvania.
The betting market has certainly reacted to news of the Tennessee Titans' positive COVID tests:https://t.co/wD6PYXTuP8
— PJ Walsh (@PJWalsh24) September 29, 2020
Update, 11:57 a.m: Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten has released the following statement:
“We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Tennessee Titans. We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise.
“We will provide more information when it becomes available.”
Update, 12:01 p.m: Albert Breer of NFL Network is reporting that Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen tested positive last week and is not one of the eight positive cases announced by the team on Tuesday.
Some more on the NFL's first COVID-19 outbreak.
• Titans OLB coach Shane Bowen tested positive late last week. His case is NOT one of 8 positives that came up today (5 personnel, 3 players).
• The positives came back this AM. Lab re-ran samples, all came up positive again.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 29, 2020
Stay with Steelers Now with more on this developing story.
Steelers LT Alejandro Villanueva Explains His Decision to Honor Alwyn Cashe
Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva explains why decided to honor deceased US Army sergeant Alwyn Cashe on his teammate instead of joining the rest of team in honoring police shooting victim Antwon Rose, Jr via Zoom with members of the media on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.
The Steelers had previously announced that the entire team would be honoring Rose, but Villanueva decided to change his mind and honor Cashe. He spoke with Mike Tomlin about that decision, but team captains Cameron Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger said they were surprised by Villanueva’s decision.
Steelers Finish Week 3 in First Place in AFC North
It’s early in the season, but being alone in first place can never be a bad things, and that’s where the Steelers find themselves.
The Steelers started the season 3-0 with Sunday’s 28-21 victory over the Houston Texans and Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens dropped a 34-20 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs. With the loss, the Ravens fell to 2-1, leaving the Steelers alone at the top of the division.
The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 2010, and are at the top of the division for the first time in a while. The last time the Steelers were atop the AFC North was after the end of Week 15 in the 2018 season.
The Ravens will fall into a second-place tie with the Cleveland Browns at 2-1. The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2-1.
The Steelers will put their first-place standing and unbeaten record on the line on Sunday against a team in an identical scenario: the 3-0 Tennessee Titans, which lead the AFC North at 3-0.