If the Pittsburgh Steelers are serious about moving Antonio Brown via a trade this offseason, it would appear he already has his destination picked out if Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice is to be believed.
Speaking on 95.7 The Game, the San Francisco equivalent of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Rice confirmed he had spoken to the Steelers star receiver over the weekend and was more then willing to share the details of their private conversation.
“You know Antonio and I, we have always kept in communication and this guy man, he’s a totally complete team player. I don't know what happened in Pittsburgh, but I know that this guy if he comes here to San Francisco, he’s going to do everything possible to help this team to win. When you got a tight end like George Kittle and a pretty good running game, Jimmy G is going to be healthy and ready to go. If you can put a receiver on the opposite side like Antonio Brown, it can really take this ball game to a whole different level. It also sends a message to the fans to say “Hey look, we’re not looking down the road, we’re looking to win right now”, and he’s that type of player, big playmaker that can make those big plays and really put a lot of fans in the stand.”
Asked if Brown had expressed a desire to play in San Francisco, Rice left no doubt about where AB really wanted to play.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, he wants to come here really bad. He’s talking about running the hill with me doing all that, just working out, just picking my brains. I don’t know if it's going to happen because it’s going to be up to Kyle Shanahan and also John Lynch, but I’m all for it if they want him to come on board. I would be looking forward to passing some of that knowledge on to him and being around this guy because I know he’s a great individual.“
That being said, Rice acknowledged he has no influence on the 49ers personnel decisions, even if he wishes he did.
“I don’t know what the niners are going to do, or if even they’re going to make a move on this, but my thing is whenever you can get a player like that, and this guy he’s just coming in to his own ... If it was left up to me, he would be here in a heartbeat.”
For those who might question the logic of trading for a player who could be politely described as ‘challenging to manage’, Rice holds no such concerns.
“Not a question, no hesitation at all. Just being around him and I know his demeanor, and I know he wants to win and he wants to contribute to the team and I think he will be a great asset to the San Francisco 49ers, just if they are willing to make it happen.”
While there was a time when Steeler fans considered Brown a great asset to their team, there will be plenty who question how much he can be trusted to contribute in light of the way his season ended this year.