If the latest revelations about Antonio Brown from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN were not bad enough, comments from Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens on Friday were even harder to hear. After appearing on a podcast for Pro Football Talk and a segment for the NFL Network, Owens became the latest name to exploit his connection to Brown for a little bit of media attention.
Adding yet another voice to those who believe Brown will be playing elsewhere in 2019, Owens’ suggestion that the Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver had expressed a desire to leave was disappointing to hear. But the discovery that AB had been seeking him out for advice as a mentor of sorts was far more disturbing. As reported by Mike Florio of PFT.
“I’ve talked with Antonio Brown throughout the course of year and I’ve kind of known some of what has been going on. He’s leaned on me for advice, as somewhat of a mentor, so to speak. . . . I think with him, I think it’s a fresh start to go elsewhere and part ways with the organization and with some of the things than he and Ben have been confronted with.”
“He wants to move on. . . . I don’t like how Ben [Roethlisberger] has kind of thrown him under the bus in certain instances. . . . I think Ben owes him a lot more respect than he has given him. . . . I mean even from the standpoint of him saying he didn’t know anything about a blowup [at practice prior to Week 17] when he was part of the blowup.”
Speaking with Lindsay Rhodes on the NFL Network, Owens would repeat many of the same comments.
“I’ve talked to A.B. throughout the course of the year and over the season and he has called me and leaned on me for advice somewhat of a big brother, mentor and I think he has done what needed to be done. He has gone out and had his play do the talking for him, so I think with all of the things surrounding him there in [Pittsburgh], I think it is best for him to part ways ... you have seen tweets and messages from management that they don’t anticipate him being in training camp, and I think Antonio has made it clear where he stands with where he wants to be and this is not in a Steelers uniform.”
“I think there is fault on each side, you know two sides to every story. I think if you saw how the Le’Veon Bell situation played out that has probably factored into doing why he is doing what he is doing. There are no guarantees and I think the best advantage going forward for Antonio is that he is playing at a very high level and is productive, so if they can work out something, because they are not just going to release him. ... I think that bodes well for both sides.”
”Well I have talked to him in recent weeks especially after the season, and I didn’t know, but the cat is out of the bag because Jerry Rice has mentioned him about being in a 49er uniform, but when I spoke to him I thought we were just discussing possible options but he kept asking me -- ‘Yo, how is the Bay Area?’” Owens said. “And I’m like OK, it was nice when I played there and they have Jimmy [Garoppolo] there and you have a great QB to compliment you on the football field, but he kept asking me, ‘Well what is the Bay Area like?’ And, well, it is sunny and shining and they have a great quarterback; management is starting to turn around. They have a new stadium there, and he is a guy that is smart and savvy. He will be in Silicon Valley, and with A.B., business will be boomin.’”
Regardless of who you think is to blame in this situation, for those of us hoping for a resolution than ends with Brown staying in Pittsburgh, the fact that Owens has the receivers ear is rather worrying.
It would be charitable to describe Owens as having been a challenging teammate when he was with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills or Cincinnati Bengals, and the notion that he could have any constructive advice that would help Brown mend fences with the Steelers is absolutely laughable. Looking at the list of people Brown has surrounded himself with since this latest drama unfolded, Owens might be the most concerning name from a group that already includes Chad Johnson and James Harrison.