Time to pull the plug on Brown
PITTSBURGH — It has now been one week since our lives were irretrievably changed by the Antonio Brown saga.
The Steelers have done nothing about it since then, and that’s exactly what they should have done.
Take some time, weigh the options, let things settle a bit. Let logic replace emotion. Then make the correct decision.
The right move in this case is to part company with Brown. Breaking up is hard to do, but its the only thing that makes sense here.
Bringing Brown back would reinforce the idea that a player with enough talent is above the rules. The Steelers have already made that mistake, and there’s no reason to repeat or reinforce it.
They let James Harrison hang around even after his usefulness had disappeared. Harrison rewarded the Steelers by supposedly falling asleep in meetings and leaving the stadium on game days after it was established he wouldn’t be playing.
Harrison at that point was a marginal player at best. But he got away with it. The Steelers didn’t cut him until the last week of the season.
So if you’re Antonio Brown and you’ve just watched that scenario unfold, what are you thinking? You’re probably thinking, “If they put up with that nonsense from an end of the line player, imagine what a star can get away with.”
So here the Steelers are, deciding on a course of action for Brown, who was truant from practices after an apparent practice field blowup with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
It looks like Brown thought he could fix all that by showing up on game day. The Steelers had another idea. They didn’t let him suit up, and then they struggled to beat the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.
They shouldn’t let Brown suit up for them any more. He had his chance, and he rejected it. See you later. Skydive into someone else’s training camp this summer.
Brown’s exit will hurt the Steelers. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a good receiver, but he’s not as good as Brown. More importantly, the backups behind him aren’t as good as Smith-Schuster was in a supporting role behind Brown.
But Brown has forced their hand. This isn’t a time to let bygones be bygones. Don’t hold a grudge — build a shelf for it in the trophy case so everyone can see it.
That sends the opposite message that the Harrison case did. Hey, they got rid of their best receiver. What does mean for a lesser player?
It’s going to hurt. However, the Steelers need to reclaim control of their team for a bigger purpose.
Trade Brown. Get what’s available and move on. No other option makes sense.
Enemy of the people
Speaking of Harrison, the fans who cheered him at last season’s Super Bowl reunion may want to reconsider that support.
Harrison has a major beef with Mike Tomlin, and he’s apparently looking to launch a broadcast career. That combination has evidently led the once anti-social linebacker to the TV cameras like a moth to a night light. His selling point is dishing dirt on his old team.
Wonder how he would have felt had an ex-player done that when Harrison was still playing for the Steelers?
You can almost guarantee the decision to fire assistant coach Joey Porter came from the ownership level.
Nothing gets a head coach’s attention like an order to fire the aide he regards as his closest associate.
Head coaching opportunities are too scarce and lucrative for someone to fall on his sword for an assistant.
While so much is uncertain, you can pretty much guarantee this: Tomlin hasn’t had many more miserable weeks as Steelers coach.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org