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Star receiver leaving town all ablaze

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — There are a lot of bridges in Pittsburgh, and Antonio Brown seems to be intent on burning all of them.

On Tuesday, he failed to show for a hearing on the charge of excessive speeding. Wherever he was, he Tweeted a farewell to Steelers Nation.

The funny thing about that is he still owes the Steelers three more seasons on his current contract.

There’s little doubt, though, that he will be traded next month, bringing an end to a career that was mostly spectacular before it took an irretrievable turn for the weird in the last 12 months.

The question is no longer whether the Steelers will trade Brown, but rather what they can get for him.

The answer to that is not trending well. ESPN reported that Brown will probably net the Steelers a second-day draft choice. That’s it for a receiver who many considered the NFL’s best?

In all likelihood, yes. Some teams don’t want to deal with Brown’s baggage. Others aren’t looking for a receiver.

On the positive side, his salaries are manageable for a player of his stature. But price may not matter to some general managers, who don’t want a player who just quit on his team.

The new NFL season opens a month from today. It shouldn’t take long for the Steelers to make a deal and put this lingering headache in the past.

Until then, there are still bridges for Brown to torch.

Temporary insanity

Evgeni Malkin will sit out tonight’s game against Edmonton, and he should.

The NHL suspended Malkin for one game after he swung his stick at the head of the Flyers’ Michael Raffl. Malkin missed, but the intent was there.

Malkin was angered because Raffl punched him in the back of the head. Malkin had every right to be upset at Raffl’s cheap shot, but that doesn’t give a player the right to respond with his own gratuitous violence.

The NHL has tried to get stick swinging out of the game, so there wasn’t much tolerance for what Malkin did.

Just back from an undisclosed upper body injury, he’ll have an evening to think about his infraction.

Malkin is a gifted player, but he’s prone to losing his temper on the ice. Opponents have had success in goading him into penalties.

He heads to the penalty box, and the Penguins are without one of their best players.

After all these years, he should know better. He should make a special effort to tighten things up as the playoffs draw closer.

Still waiting

As of this moment, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still unsigned.

Baseball’s two premier free agents have yet to find a spot on a 2019 roster.

Some reports suggest that a hissing contest between agents is a factor. Harper is represented by Scott Boras and Dan Lozano negotiates on behalf of Machado.

The two agents are said to be rivals and each wants to come away with the distinction of having landed the biggest contract in MLB history. That means the other guy’s player has to sign first.

In the meantime, neither player knows where he’s going to play this season.

Remember when debates were about which player was the best rather than which agent negotiated the best deal?

The slow free agent market could help the Pirates with other players. Having this many players unsigned at this late date works in favor of clubs that don’t have the biggest budget.

John Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com.

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