Antonio Brown has spent his entire nine-year career with the Steelers.
Members of the Steelers organization do not know why Antonio Brown did not show up with teammates for meetings and film review Monday, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday. Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the news.
Tomlin would not clarify whether or not Brown's absence was excused but he did say, "I'm looking forward to visiting with him [Tuesday]."
Earlier on Monday, the All-Pro wide receiver responded to criticism from a former team employee who suggested Brown's success is heavily linked to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"Trade me let's find out," Brown tweeted in response to the assertion that "he would't put up those numbers for other teams."
Tomlin said Brown has not asked the team to be traded, according to Bouchette.
The Steelers are off from practice Tuesday, so Wednesday will be the next time to see if Brown's absence on Monday was more than just a one-off instance.
Pittsburgh is 0-1-1 this season after a disappointing season-opening tie to the Browns and then a 42-37 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on Sunday. In those two games Brown has totaled 18 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown.
According to multiple reports, Brown was visibly upset when he and his agent quickly exited the stadium following the Week 2 loss.
Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, reached out to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com to set the record straight and explain that the tweet from Monday was not Brown's way of requesting a trade.
1/2 Steelers' WR Antonio Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus: "The tweet yesterday was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2018
2/3 Rosenhaus: “Antonio had a personal matter. I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That's all that that is.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2018
3/3 “That's not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that's what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2018
On Tuesday, Brown posted a photo of himself on Instagram with the caption "Ain't No Pressure #JustWIN".
If the Brown situation is as insignificant as Rosenhaus is making it out to be, the Steelers dodged a bullet that could have put the their season in jeopardy early. Pittsburgh is still without running back Le'Veon Bell who continues to holdout after getting placed on the franchise tag for the second consecutive season.
The Steelers face the 2-0 Buccaneers on Monday to close out Week 3. They will face their AFC North rival the Ravens on Sunday night in Week 4.