While Kevin Colbert was understandably unwilling to confirm which teams had contacted the Pittsburgh Steelers about a possible trade for Antonio Brown when speaking to the media on Wednesday, he was prepared to acknowledge that the number of interested teams had increased. However, he was not the only coach or general manager asked about the Steelers’ star receiver when faced with the press at the scouting combine, with several team representative effectively denying they were among the names who had spoken to Pittsburgh about Brown.
If AB has hopes of joining the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, he will be disappointed to note that head coach Kyle Shanahan told the reporters that neither he or his team had reached out to the Steelers about the wide receiver. As per Matt Barrows of The Athletic.
Have the #49ers reached out to the Steelers about Antonio Brown? "I haven't," Kyle SHanahan said. “Not that I know of." #Steelers— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) February 27, 2019
A fact confirmed by general manager John Lynch.
Here is the response from John Lynch when I asked him about Antonio Brown. pic.twitter.com/uMXXx8uiA9— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) February 28, 2019
The New York Jets are one of the teams that some have speculated might be interested in Brown, but it seems they are not one of the clubs that have shown any interest at this stage. As per Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and reported by Brian Costello of the New York Post.
“You know my policy is I pretty much call everybody at some point in time about every name that flies out there just to see. But I would say simply this: You know, that’s something I — you know, again we haven’t really ventured that far into yet — so, simply put, it’s like at this point in time we’re sort of evaluating the free-agency market, not the trade market, and we’ll see how that one unfolds.”
Although they certainly did not discount themselves from doing so in the future.
AB might also want to forget about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after their general manager confirmed they were not one of the teams on the Steelers list of interested parties.
#Bucs GM Jason Licht said they have not had any discussions about trading for Antonio Brown.— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) February 27, 2019
The Indianapolis Colts were the new favorites in the betting to land Brown via trade at the weekend, but the words of Chris Ballard and Frank Reich appear to discount that idea according to Stephen Holder of The Athletic. Holder would report these comments from the head coach.
“I think we’re a team on the rise, and the reason is, we have the right players in the locker room,” he said. “It’s the right kind of culture, and that culture starts with the guys in that locker room. It’s not open to just anybody. That locker room is not just open to any great player. You’ve got to be the right guy. You’ve got to be the right player.”
Head coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans may have not denied an interest in trading for Brown, but the philosophy he espoused when responding to a question about the wide receiver seems to suggest the Steelers will not be getting a call from the Titans.
.@Titans coach Mike Vrabel asked about bringing in a player like Antonio Brown. pic.twitter.com/8KYXIpoan7— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) February 27, 2019
Pittsburgh still have some hope that the Oakland Raiders could be a trade partner, if they have not already called.
Jon Gruden was asked about Antonio Brown. #Raiders #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/aYkp0Nqa6M— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) February 28, 2019
And the Arizona Cardinals could eventually be in play if the words of their head coach are any indication. Asked if he would be willing to bring in a veteran receiver who wanted the ball and might criticize the coaches and quarterback, Kliff Kingsbury did not completely dismiss the idea.
“Yeah, it depends how good they are. If they’re that good, I think you can find that happy medium.
But if no one else is interest, the Cleveland Browns might be.
#Browns GM John Dorsey was asked if he has reached out to the Steelers for Antonio Brown: “Well I’m not going to talk about another team’s players, but Kevin [Colbert], if you’re listening to this, here’s my phone number.”— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) February 28, 2019
All this being said, it would not be a surprise if one of the teams denying an interest in Brown right now ultimately ended up being the receivers next home. Coaches and general managers have a habit of being economical with the truth in these matters, but teams like the Colts, Buccaneers and Titans do seem genuinely uninterested.