Steelers won’t take discount for Antonio Brown on trade market
Kevin Colbert is willing to grant Antonio Brown’s trade request.
With one condition.
“By no means are we going to make a trade or any type of move that will not be beneficial to the Pittsburgh Steeler organization,” Colbert said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters. “We will not be discounting you on the trade market. And we certainly will not be releasing you.”
So much for the Steelers accepting a diminished return for Brown, who requested a trade a week before meeting with team president Art Rooney II and Colbert on Tuesday to discuss the All-Pro wide receiver’s future.
Brown emerged from that meeting saying the two sides mutually agreed it was “time to move on.”
Colbert offered a slightly different perspective Wednesday, saying he didn’t discount Brown returning to the Steelers even though he has issues with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin.
“I don’t think any relationship is irreparable,” Colbert said.
Colbert said Brown will be traded only if the Steelers receiving “significant” compensation in return even though the 30-year-old receiver has damaged his value by skipping practices and meetings in the final week of the season, ignoring phone calls from Rooney and Tomlin, taking shots at Roethlisberger and Tomlin on social media and asking his new team to renegotiate his contract to provide more guaranteed money.
“We will take a positive approach and if someone has a sincere interest and they want to make a move with a significant pick or set of picks or a significant players plus picks and we think it will benefit us in the long run, we are all in,” Colbert said. “If not, we will make that decision at that point.”
Brown is due a $2.5 million roster bonus March 17, the fifth day of the new NFL calendar year. Colbert said it is a “factor” in trade talks.
“Could we get something done in the meantime? We will all work for that,” he said. “We all understand what is real and what isn’t.”
Colbert said Brown’s behavior Tuesday was contradictory to what was displayed by the wide receiver since the end of the season. He said Brown requested a private meeting that included his father, Eddie, and Rooney.
The discussion lasted “20-30 minutes” before the group reconvened with Colbert, team executive Omar Khan and Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
Brown requested a photo with Rooney to post on social media. In the photo, Brown has his arm wrapped around Rooney’s shoulder.
“Antonio Brown is a phenomenal football player, one of our best workers if not the best,” Colbert said. “He’s a highly emotional player, a highly emotional practice player and preparer. Sometimes, he does things that we wish were not in this situation. Who Antonio Brown is, is more reflective of yesterday than what he did the past couple of weeks.”
Colbert said that until Wednesday, the Steelers were not engaged in trade discussions involving Brown.
“We’ve identified teams potentially that could be in the market for a marquee guy and we’ll start to make calls and we’ll monitor the calls we get,” he said. “It could happen today, could happen some days down the road.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .