There are many people who feel the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers could be better than their 2017 and 2018 versions with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. This usually comes back to the ‘addition by subtraction’ theory. The thought of the team having a better locker room attitude, with super egos finally gone, could actually equate to a more unified team and a better product on the field.
Some disagree wholeheartedly with this thought, and when players have been asked about it the answer is usually a stock one. This is what James Conner had to say to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk when he joined the program recently.
“I think only time will tell. I think we became closer maybe because of everything. Throughout OTAs and minicamp, it was fun to see the guys. You know, come into the facility, excited to be there, the interactions and the relationships. They’ve all been great so far. Great vibes within our organization. We’re excited about the future, man.”
Could these vibes actually turn into more wins in 2019? No one will know for sure. While Bell never reported in 2018, and the Steelers were able to get acclimated to life without him, life without Antonio Brown will be new territory for the black-and-gold. This has been discussed often in recent weeks, but replacing 15 receiving touchdowns will certainly be a challenge, no matter what anyone says.
The ongoing theme from every player who has spoken to the media since offseason workouts started has had the same theme behind their answer. They know it is a business and they don’t wish any ill will to either Brown or Bell.
“We always have respect for those guys,” Conner said of Brown and Bell. “Those are our former teammates. They’re great people as well as football players. Worrying about what they’re doing in their states and teams, that can’t help us none. We hope they do well and wish the best for them, but that can’t help us at all. That’s behind us.”
Conner suggests the two ‘Killer Bs’ who are now members of new franchises are behind them, but the reality of the situation is that won’t actually happen until the 2019 season actually begins. Until then, players and coaches would be wise to expect questions about the two departed players until the real games start in Week 1 of the 2019 regular season.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 2019 regular season!