Antonio Brown said last month that he wants to retire as a member of the Steelers. The Steelers may be open to it, but they certainly aren’t ready for the return of a wide receiver on a more than one-day contract.
Brown remains a free agent and has said he won’t play in 2022, likely because he hasn’t received interest.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made it clear that Brown’s career with Pittsburgh was over after nine seasons.
“You all know that it doesn’t happen‘ Tomlin said of Brown’s possible return during The Pivot podcast via SI.com. “As far as putting on a helmet and running out of a tunnel and playing ball and stuff like that, man. You know he’s gone and we moved on. We can sit down and chop it up like it’s a realistic conversation, but we know it’s not real.”
Brown demonstrated Hall of Famer potential while playing for the Steelers, earning seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pros. He had 837 receptions for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns. But Brown couldn’t repeat that success with the Raiders, Patriots, or Buccaneers, and his time at each of his four stops, including Pittsburgh, ended badly (and memorably).
“What I can say about EB is that we had nine wonderful years,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate this dude in a way that I can’t explain to you all. I won’t even try to explain to you all, because it sounds like I’m defending him, and for me, from this point of view, the nature of our relationship and what we all did together does not require protection. You can digest it however you want, digest it. [Tomlin blows a kiss.] I don’t think enough has been said about this dude’s will. About this dude’s work ethic. Of the fearlessness he played.”
Brown played 12 seasons, but he only appeared in 16 games in the last three seasons.