Steelers have few appealing options regarding Brown

In the continuing Pittsburgh Steelers soap opera entitled “As The Steelers Turn”, there are certainly enough story lines and plenty of blame to go around.

While it is very easy to blame Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown for his actions, and his actions certainly do deserve blame, the Steelers head coach, general manager and principal owner also deserve their share of the blame. They enabled his actions.

A few years back, when Brown did his live video from the locker room in Kansas City in violation of National Football League rules, Steelers management basically looked the other way. A few months later, when Brown signed his current, multi-million, multi-year contract, Steelers owner Art Rooney II, dismissed Brown’s antics as “little annoyances”. The past two years, when Brown exploded, or perhaps imploded might be a better word, on the sideline during games, head coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and Rooney seemed to ignore it. They also seemed to look the other way when he screamed at quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinators Todd Haley and Randy Fichtner during games.

This past summer during training camp at St. Vincent, Brown didn’t stay in the dorm with the rest of the team. He stayed a few miles away with his family and had his personal chef prepare his meals. Let’s also not forget his arrival at St. Vincent via helicopter which may have been in violation of Federal Aviation Administration rules due to the proximity of a municipal airport.

As Sheriff Andy Taylor’s sidekick, deputy Barney Fife used to say, “You have to nip it. Nip it in the bud.”

The Steelers hierarchy didn’t nip it, and now they are faced with a big problem.

Rooney tried to downplay the depth of the problem this past week, but it seemed more like he was trying to make it appear that the organization wasn’t desperately looking to trade Brown. He was making it clear that while they are open to trade offers, they weren’t going to give him away.

Yet, they almost have to rid themselves of Brown, no matter what the salary cap consequences may be. It’s just hard to imagine Brown being embraced by his teammates after essentially walking out on them the last week of the season.

A moment that stood out from a late-season home game in which Brown had another of his emotional meltdowns, was seeing his agent on the field apparently consoling him after the game. It is highly unusual in Pittsburgh to see a player’s agent on the field after a game.

It was almost like that Lifesavers commercial where the father gives his son a Lifesaver after he missed a shot at the end of a basketball game.

If Brown’s agent was allowed on the sideline, why weren’t the other players’ agents also allowed field access? Maybe the Steelers could bring in portable bleachers for them to sit right behind the bench. That way their clients could come over and tell them all their problems during the game.

Make no mistake about it, Brown is one of, if not, the best wide receiver in the NFL. However, it is a team game.

The Steelers helped sow this problem, and now they have to reap it.

TAMPA BAY

STEELERS

No, the Steelers aren’t moving the franchise to Tampa, but the Steelers alumni are definitely headed that way.

Soon after former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was named head coach of the Buccaneers, a number of former Steelers joined the coaching staff. Many of them worked for Arians when he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Antwaan Randle El played for the Steelers from 2002 through 2005 and again in 2010. Randle El will be an offensive assistant. Former linebacker Larry Foote (2002-08, 2010-13) will coach the outside linebackers in Tampa.

Former backup quarterback Byron Leftwich (2008, 2010-12) will be the offensive coordinator. Harold Goodwin coached the Steelers offensive line from 2007 through 2011. Goodwin will tutor the Buccaneers offensive line and also coordinate the running game. Amos Jones, who coached the Steelers special teams from 2007 through 2012 will be working with Tampa Bay’s special teams.

While the Buccaneers special teams and defensive assistant Cody Grimm is not a Steelers alumni, his father Russ Grimm coached for the Steelers. The elder Grimm was thought to be the favorite to become the Steelers head coach when Bill Cowher retired.