Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday the team will not release Antonio Brown, but "all other options are on the table."
Rooney added he will talk to other players to see how they feel, but it would be "hard to envision" Brown still with the Steelers when they report to training camp in July. According to the article, no one from Pittsburgh's front office or coaching staff has even spoken to Brown since Dec. 30, which was the team's final regular season game. Brown has reportedly refused calls from Rooney and head coach Mike Tomlin.
The news follows reports that Brown's absence in the season-finale against the Bengals was because of a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leading up to the game. Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, JuJu Smith-Schuster being voted as Pittsburgh's team MVP may have contributed to Brown's reported practice blowout.
Pittsburgh is reportedly expected to consider trade offers for Brown ahead of the free-agency period.
The Steelers face a $21 million cap hit if they trade Brown this offseason. The move could exhaust between eight and 10% of Pittsburgh's available cap space. However, the team can't do anything until March 13, which is the first official day of the 2019 NFL season.
Rooney said the cap hit would not play into the team's decision.