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Fake news, false reports and fabricated deadlines fuel fiction surrounding Antonio Brown trade

It is hard to known what is going on with the Steelers efforts to trade Antonio Brown these days after another series of reports were turned out to be fraudulent on Friday

Wild Card Round - Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No matter how much fans may have internally doubted the veracity of reports from Ian Rapoport claiming the Pittsburgh Steelers would have traded Antonio Brown by Friday, it was hard not to get swept up in the idea that the saga would soon be over.

Those up late on Thursday night might even have been convinced that Brown would soon be heading to the Buffalo Bills after the NFL Network analyst posted numerous tweets declaring a deal was almost done.

In reality, it seems there was no deal even close to being agreed. If were are to believe the reports from Jason La Canfora of CBS on Friday morning, efforts to finalize a trade between Pittsburgh and Buffalo had fallen through days ago, and certainly before Thursday night.

Facts repeated Adam Schefter of ESPN.

And again by veteran Bills writer Vic Carucci. Providing more detail regarding the timeline in an article for Buffalo

“Talks started Tuesday and ran through Thursday. When Beane and Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert last spoke on Thursday, no deal was imminent.”

“Late Thursday night, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Bills and Steelers were closing in on a trade that would send Brown to Buffalo. The report came as news to Beane, who had intended to say nothing publicly about the Bills’ interest in Brown.”

A series of reports that appear to be supported by a public statement from Buffalo GM Brandon Beane.

And something a comment from Sports Illustrated reporter Robert Klemko also alluded to.

Not to mention the small fact of the player at the center of the news disputing any truth to it.

Those still wondering about this magical Friday deadline might also be interested to know that reports of its existence may also have been another media invention. A fact that Gerry Dulac would confirm in a report on Thursday.

“The Steelers would like to get a deal done before free agency begins March 13 and almost certainly before they are obligated to pay Brown a $2.5 million roster bonus on March 17. But there is not a “deadline,” according to a source, to complete a trade by Friday.”

If there is a lesson to be learned in all this, it is perhaps that we would should all re-evaluated the sources that we considered credible and keep in mind those who have mislead us before when getting overly excited about the next report we read. Fans have been misled far too often by national reporters as of late thanks to endless erroneous reports surrounding Le’Veon Bell or fake stories about Ben Roethlisberger’s request for a trade.

Sadly with free agency on the horizon and Brown seemingly no closer to finding a new home, fans will be left trying to sort out the fact from the fiction for quite a while longer.