When asked if Antonio Brown quit on the Steelers, Mike Tomlin said, "you can call it what you want to call it"
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin denied recent reports that wide receiver Antonio Brown has requested to be traded after Brown didn't play in the team's season finale Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Monday that Brown did not play in the Steelers' win against the Bengals after having a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The quarterback downplayed the incident.
Tomlin said he didn't play Brown because of a "lack of communication" between the sides leading up to the game. He said Brown had soreness in his knee, ankle and feet last week, so he was sent for an MRI on the knee Friday. Tomlin added that Brown did not show up and the team couldn't reach him after that. Brown also skipped the team's walkthrough on Saturday and the team meetings on Monday.
When asked if Brown quit on the Steelers, Tomlin said, "You can call it what you want to call it"
The 30-year-old Brown tweeted during the press conference and wrote, "Happy New Year. Be Great," in addition to a longer quote.
On Wednesday, Brown also appeared in a video with former Steelers linebacker James Harrison to tease an interview with Brown. Harrison has been critical of Tomlin.
Pittsburgh (9–6–1) beat Cincinnati without Brown, but was eliminated from playoff contention when the Ravens defeated the Browns.
Brown finished the season with 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns for a league high and team record.