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Why Did Antonio Brown Request Trade from Steelers?

Antonio Brown requested a trade after the 2018 season, and to him, it was something that he simply had to do at some point.



Steelers WR Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown, Steelers at Ravens 12/27/15 -- KEITH ALLISON/FLICKR | CC BY-SA 2.0

The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the most prolific offenses in football during the 2010s with the Killer B’s, but when Le’Veon Bell departed, and then Antonio Brown requested a trade, all of that went up in smoke. For the Steelers, that group of weapons not even appearing in a Super Bowl is one of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in franchise history.

But it could have stuck for a few more seasons if Brown stayed around. He requested a trade after failing to play in their season finale that season, but why did he request a trade? Appearing on Cam Capone News, Brown gave his reasoning for wanting out.

“I just felt like at some point in your career, you want to win a Super Bowl,” Brown said. “And honestly, for me, I was just trying to put myself in the best scenario to accomplish that. And I did.”

And now, Brown agreed that it would not happen in Pittsburgh. He would later get that ring in Tampa Bay with Tom Brady. But the one thing he does regret from his time in Pittsburgh is what happened with Ben Roethlisberger. One of the most prolific duos in NFL history, Brown and Roethlisberger had a blow up that was covered extensively in the media. Brown puts a lot of blame on the media in creating that wedge.

“I love Ben, I was probably so hurt at that time I just blocked his number. I made a life, changed my life as a player, coming into my own with Ben. First time I ever hit the starting lineup Big Ben told Bruce Arians ‘Yo I need AB at the X’, so I don’t think I ever had a problem with Ben, man,” Brown said. “Me and Ben made some of the greatest football history moments of my life, you know, my kids grew up seeing it. It sparked some of the greatness in my life. I feel like the media tried to create a war between us, but man I feel like me and Ben’s IQ is so much the same, sometimes I ran and created routes and he’d throw me the ball. We had that relationship, the media makes it what it is, but I got nothing but love and joy for Ben.”

If they could have stayed together right as the defense rounded into form, it’s always possible it could have happened. But shortly thereafter, Roethlisberger suffered a career-altering elbow injury, and while they made trips to the playoffs in his final two seasons, it was clear that he was not the same player. Brown, on the other hand, bounced around the league, but did accomplish his goal.

Brown, 34, became one of the most dominant receivers in NFL history in his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010-18, but since then has caused a slew of on- and off-the-field issues, including several lawsuits, arrests, sexual assault allegations, and a lengthy suspension. His last on-field game came in 2021, where he ran shirtless off the field against the New York Jets.

This spring, Brown purchased an interest in the Albany Empire, the successor to the indoor team that his father, “Touchdown” Eddie Brown played for. Eddie Brown acts as the team’s general manager, and Antonio, to turn around the fortunes of a team struggling at the gate and in the standings, said he planned to play in a game but never did before the league bounced the team from the league altogether.