Long before star wide receiver Antonio Brown essentially quit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of a January game at the New York Jets, he earned seven Pro Bowl and four first-team All-Pro nods while playing under head coach Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the bulk of the 2010s.
Last month, Brown took to Twitter to claim he wants to retire as a member of the Steelers. Per Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports, Tomlin made it clear on a recent edition of “The Pivot Podcast” that Brown has played his last snap for the organization even though the 33-year-old may eventually sign a one-day contract with the franchise to get his wish.
“He’s moved on, we’ve moved on,” Tomlin explained.
Fans shouldn’t think those words suggest Tomlin isn’t grateful for all that Brown contributed during his Pittsburgh tenure.
“What I’ll say about AB is this, we had nine great years,” Tomlin added during his comments. “I appreciate that dude in ways I can’t explain to y’all. … I don’t think enough gets said about the will of that dude, about the work ethic of that dude, about the fearlessness in which he played the game. … I’ve never seen him blink on the football field. I’ve never seen him shy away from anything that was uncomfortable on the football field. I’ve only seen him run into burning buildings, as they say, on the football field. We talk about all this other stuff, but we don’t talk about that.
“Unbelievable will. Unbelievable work ethic. Unbelievable belief in himself. That’s what I think about when I think about the nine years that I spent with that dude.”
Tomlin said he remains in communication with Brown, and the coach noted the free agent veteran didn’t always handle the ups and downs of his career in a preferred way.
“With success comes a lot of things,” Tomlin remarked, according to Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot. “Some we deal with well, some we don’t. Some he dealt with well, some of it, he didn’t. Some of it changed him in ways that were not as attractive.”
Tomlin continued: “Success is a slippery red carpet.”
For a piece published on May 28, Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk wrote that Brown has claimed he won’t play during the upcoming NFL season.