After NFL Network's Ian Rapoport initially reported that the Steelers are closing in on a deal to send Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Bills, it appears that he may not be heading to Buffalo after all.
Bills reporter Vic Carucci had also reported that while Buffalo had inquired about Brown, "no deal is imminent." He added that another source said a trade to the Bills was actually "unlikely."
CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reports that Buffalo was "nowhere close" to a trade for Brown.
Shortly after news of Brown's trade was reported by Rapoport, the wideout commented on an Instagram posted by the NFL about the trade saying the report was "fake news."
Brown, 30, has spent nine seasons with Pittsburgh, who selected him out of Central Michigan during the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He has been named to four All-Pro teams and seven Pro Bowls during his Steelers tenure.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Brown tweeted a video thanking Steelers fans "for a big 9 years," stating that it was "time to move on and forward." Shortly after Brown shared the video, he met with the Steelers in Florida and was officially put on the trading block.
Brown had signed a four-year, $68 million extension with Pittsburgh during the 2017 offseason.
Brown's relationship with the Steelers frayed as the 2018 regular season drew to a close. He sat out Pittsburgh's Week 17 matchup against the Bengals after sitting out practice and reportedly getting into a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but he later downplayed the incident. During an impromptu Q&A on Twitter last month, Brown reiterated his frustrations about the franchise QB, saying that Roethlisberger possessed "an owner mentality," and criticizing the signal-caller's treatment of teammates.
Steelers president Art Rooney II previously said the team would not release Brown, adding that "all other options are on the table" last month. Rooney also stated that it would be "hard to envision" Brown still with Pittsburgh when the team breaks for training camp in July.
Brown said he takes no blame for his fallout with the team but was ready for a trade.
Despite missing the team's regular-season finale last season, Brown still caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a Steelers' single-season record of 15 touchdowns.
Brown's 11,207 receiving yards and 74 receiving touchdowns rank second all-time in Steelers franchise history. His 86.2 receiving yards per game is the best mark in Pittsburgh team history.